"officially" on spring break, with partying every night and blogging every day. But believe me, I have reason. Well, at least one reason- and it has to do with (shocking, I know!) inappropriate sister. And mocking her.
Is it wrong (morally, ethically, spiritually, legally, etc.) for me to post my students' inane ramblings for others to mock? Because I have got a PRICELESS one in my hot little hands. Okay, decision made. It's unethical for me to suffer alone. Let me set the stage for you:
One of the main assignments I give my students is "reactionary reviews." I bring in a variety of guest speakers and I also show what I hope are compelling and/or controversial videos at least once a week. Students must "react" in writing to a speaker or video on four different occasions. For every semester I teach, I find one more thing I guess I'm not clear on, and subsequently, every semester my syllabus grows longer and longer. At this moment, my syllabus is five pages with teeny, tiny Arial narrow font (pt. 9) and really itsy bitsy margins. Apparently, still not long enough. I dedicate about, oh, 3/4 of a page explaining the mysterious "reactionary review." In my mind, I could not be any more clear: 3 pages minimum, 5 pages maximum. Times New Roman 12 pt. font. 1" margins all around. Typed (of course) and double-spaced. First page-page and a half should be a summary of the speaker or video. No MORE than a page and a half should be the aforementioned summary. THEN, for the remaining pages, you are to write about your reaction to the speaker or video. Don't know what to write? Here are some questions and/or "talking points" to help you get started:
- How did speaker/video make you feel?
- Did you learn anything new from speaker/video?
- If yes, what did you learn?
- If no, where had you gained your previous information about this topic?
- Was the previous information you had about the topic accurate?
- Were any of your previous thoughts on the topic erroneous?
- If yes, what was incorrect and what do you now know as "correct?"
- Did the speaker/video change your opinion on the topic? If so, how was it changed?
- If you were to describe this speaker/video/rodeo clown to a friend, what would you say about it?
- Do you think other students in future iterations of this class should see the same speaker, etc.?
- If yes, why? If no, why not?
That same day, I also showed what I consider to be a fascinating video (then again, my definition of fascinating is probably different than that of your average bird's): The History of the Pill. I saw it on PBS and knew I had to have it. I have watched it dozens of times now and I am still riveted by it.
I told my students that they were certainly welcome to "react" to Dr. L., but it would probably be easier for them to "react" to the pill video, since there was probably more information in it that was new to them. 99.9% of the students who wrote a reaction paper for that day wrote about The Pill. Except. You guessed it. Inappropriate sister.
Her paper started like this: "On Tuesday, the 12th of May (huh? What? Seriously, girl. It was the 14th of March. But I digress), Dr. L. came to our class to discuss birth control. He has been my gynecologist for the past four years and I love him. He's great. In order to demonstrate how great he is, I'm going to tell a story about my first gynecologist, who was not so great." At this point, I'm hoping she'll get sidetracked by a shiny object and I really, really won't have to read about her first visit to the OB/GYN. Don't I suffer enough as it is? Then:
"Because I am a virgin (OF COURSE YOU ARE! EVERYONE KNOWS THAT YOU ARE! THE PEOPLE IN THE CLASSROOM NEXT DOOR KNOW YOU ARE! Ahem. Sorry for shouting), I did not get my first pelvic exam until I was 20. I'm a virgin, hooray for me, yippee, yippee, hooray. Unfortunately, as a virgin, my first pelvic exam was extremely traumatic because of the female doctor I visited." Now, here is where I was conflicted about sharing a student's paper. And then I decided I wasn't conflicted anymore because it's just. too. crazy. to keep to myself: Ready, folks? Here we go. (And thanks in advance for not responding that I deserve to rot in hell) Verbatim:
"This environment scared me even more. She was cold and out of touch with the sensitivity that it takes to earn someone's trust with whom you are entering into such a vulnerable position. This is something I find quite common in the medical field of today because the motivations of people who enter the field are not out of a genuine concern for people but possibly out of a desire for wealth. Being involved in the alternative medicine scene makes this even more obvious. Dr. L. was very good at making me feel comfortable and explaining everything - another thing that many Doctors do not do. This allows one the courtesy of knowing what is going on with her own body. I had a nurse tell me one time not to question their procedures. I cried. I was so angry that someone would treat you as the lowly client who could not possibly understand what "we" do.
It is in this hostile atmosphere that the white witch proceeded to enter a cold hard utensil into my body and hurt me. I told her I was nervous and she showed no sign of trying to work with me nor telling me ahead of time what the procedure was going to feel like, why it was necessary, etc., The way she operated was like her husband had just left her for being a controlling ice queen and her children would no longer talk to her. She went to pull out the large metal fire poker and it had pinched something inside me that she was apparently trying to pull out for her cruelty trophy chamber even though I told her she was hurting me. I was breaking a cold hard hospital sweat trying to clench my legs together while in a dominatrix torture devise known as "stirrups" while at the same time sliding off the chair in fear and pain . . . she relented not."
As I said before: Oy. Yesterday was the second midterm and inappropriate sister was the last person to finish. When she turned in her exam, I handed her back her paper. She looked at me, smiled and asked, "Did you like my story?" What was I supposed to say? "Actually, it scared the shit out of me?" or "Is this your way of crying out for help and trying to tell me you were molested as a child?" or, as a colleague asked me when I showed her the paper, "Are you sure you're not suffering from dissociative disorder?" I lied. I said, "Wow. It sure was, um, creative!"