Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Inappropriate Sister Strikes Back

Okay friends. Not sure whether to laugh or cry, but I have been chastised by Inappropriate Sister and now am feeling EXTREMELY guilty. But not so guilty that I don't want someone to say, "We still love you, Teacher Lady! Anyone in your situation would have done the same thing."

I suppose we (Sister and I) have been building up to this. Two weeks ago, I had the class do what I thought was a harmless group activity. We reviewed the chapter on sexual dysfunction. I assigned each group a "dysfunction" and had them create an advertisement for one of the treatments for the various dysfunction. One of the students asked me if they could be "cheesy" in the creation of their ads and I told them they could be cheesy or silly, but not raunchy or vulgar. The purpose was to focus on how various companies might "spin" treatments for sexual dysfunctions and take advantage of people who were already feeling low. Sister took over for her small group (I ran out of time, so the groups really only had a few minutes to create their ad); as I walked around the classroom, checking in with each of the groups, I noticed that she was the only one creating the poster; the rest of her group was sitting in their desks, kind of looking at each other like, "This woman's crazy - let's just let her do her thing." So, when it was time for each group to share their advertisement, she was laughing so hard she could barely speak. Her advertisement said something like, "Pee-pee not got the power?" and showed a woman (drawn to resemble a porn star, by the way) straddling a banana. This didn't even make sense because their particular dysfunction was erectile dysfunction and I guess they decided to do an ad for penile implants. I have extremely little patience for the sissy-noodle-who-who-dingle language and I guess it showed. I said, "I'm sorry. Is there anwhere in that chapter in the text book that it says 'pee-pee?' She is laughing hysterically and says, "But I'm EMBARRASSED!" You're embarrassed to say "penis" but not to draw a picture of a woman straddling a banana and say the word "pee-pee" in front of 49 of your peers?

Okay. Whatever. Then, I get an e-mail from her this morning asking if she can turn a paper in late or if I can possibly print it out for her because two of the computer labs she's been to this morning both seem to be incapable of printing her paper. First of all, there are about 20 printing labs on our campus. Second, I find it hard to believe that in two of these 20-some labs on campus there isn't a working printer. But fine. It's typical for her. As Roseanne Roseanna-Danna would say, "It's always something."

Today was a lesson that was kind of all over the place - I'll admit it. We are wrapping up STIs and one of the students asked me about the rates of AIDS in the U.S. I botched the answer (which I will go back and correct) and Sister raises her hand and says, "I just heard that in colleges around Washington D.C., the rates of HIV infection are one person in 20." I didn't even have to say anything. Before I got out my, "I'm not familiar with that statistic, but that doesn't mean it's not true, although it sounds a bit extreme," one of my male students said, "That's ridiculous. That sounds way too high if you ask me." Perhaps I should have chastised him for not being respectful, because that may have set the tone for this whole thing. I just said, "My math isn't the best, but isn't 1 out of 20 about 5%? It does sound a little high, but I didn't see the article." Then she says, "It must be one of those nympho colleges." Right. Very technical term. Nympho. So I tried to turn it around and said, "Ah, yes. Nympho. That's the spirit and an excellent segue to our next chapter, Atypical Sexual Behavior."

In the section of the chapter on voyeurism, I mentioned an article I saw in March's Glamour magazine about "video voyeurism" and how many college women are engaging in drunken exploits they'd never engage in while sober, only later to find those same exploits posted all over the Internet. Then I was getting very serious and mom-preachy (something I try to avoid in class) and talked about the textbook's paragraphs about hidden video cameras taping people dressing, bathing, having sex, etc., While I do my best not to spread rumors in my classroom, I have heard from a fellow student - who conducts research outside the residence halls from the hours of 10:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m. - that there is a campus "pornography ring" that involves male students video taping their sex partners (without partners' knowledge) and then passing the videos around to "share." Sister raises her hand and asks, "This isn't exactly about that, but have you heard of how people stick gerbils up their butts?" I am serious. I could not make this up if I tried. My face was blank for about 1o seconds. I stuttered and stammered and then finally said, "Yes." and just glared at her. "Well, is that the same thing as the fetish thing you were talking about earlier?" I snapped, "No, that would be bestiality, but good question. Thanks." I admit it - I was irritated and fed up with her and it came through. Then we moved on and she asked me a question about her paper after class and I thought we were good.

Oh, no. I just got home and check it out:

ok , that's great , i will be doing aid work in biluxi from thurs.-sun.
so i won't be in class, and thats great that you have my paper
ill leave it how it is.

oh and when i ask a question , i apologize if it sounds like
im trying to be funny, i really just don't kno how to word things
and it comes out wrong, but i would appriciate it if you could be
a little nicer towrds me when that happens in class, like you are after class.
no biggie, thanks.

I feel so much guilt. My bitchiness got the best of me. I lost my patience in front of the class and I let them see it. You know those stupid old deodorant commercials, "Never let them see you sweat?" I let her see me sweat. Bad. Bad teacher lady. Bad, bad, bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Blogger Virenda said...

I'm new to your site so I'm NOT sure who sister is but she sounds lax to say the least. She should learn respect for her teachers and maybe how to spell, 'cause that note was pitiful.

Oh and we are all allowed a mistake or two. I think, considering her actions, that you were acting as calm as can be expected. I know a lot of teachers that would just ask her to leave.

April 18, 2006 8:54 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Welcome, and thanks! I appreciate it. Oh, she's a PITA. And that's an understatement.

April 18, 2006 8:58 PM  
Blogger liberalbanana said...

Ah, a newbie to the Inappropriate Siblings. You've got a lot of good reading ahead of you, virenda!

I definitely don't think you overstepped your boundaries. When I took that Adult Ed class last month, it was in a 6th grade Health/Sex Ed classroom. The class rules were on the board. One of them was: "Keep questions on topic." Maybe you should write some guidelines out on the board??

I almost started to hyperventilate after reading her email. No caps! Misspellings! Blessings! Spaces before commas! ACK!!!

But fret not, Teacher Lady. We do still love you.

April 19, 2006 6:59 AM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

I would have reacted a lot worse. I worked with an amazing professor for my first TAship, and he let me know that sometimes you're going to offend people no matter how hard you try not to do so. So what the hell, you gotta gain control of the class. And as long as there's that need, there's the need, sometimes, to get "sassy" (his word, not mine!) right back with these students.

She's testing you, and she's trying to get the upper hand. Which is, of course, ridiculous, because you have years of life experience, not to mention mad grammar skillz, on her. She seems to have a problem with boundaries, and even if you were short with her (and really, who could blame you?) you are the professor, and I honestly can't believe that she would try to call you out. No biggie, thanks my ass!! She needs to be knocked down a peg (or six).

At least it wasn't in front of class, though. Don't want to have all those whiny little fuckers seeing you sweat!

April 19, 2006 7:12 AM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Ladies, you are awesome! You have me sighing a sigh of relief and SMILING for the first time in 18 hours. I don't know how I survived before I had my blog! Oh - wait. I drank more.

April 19, 2006 9:33 AM  
Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

I'm pretty sure after reading your blog entries that you are a member of Homo Sapiens. If this is the case, then you are entitled to get disgruntled, and dare I say it... even angry at times, the given situation and surroundings do not matter. While sister has seen your attitude and asked youto be nicer that doesn't mean your were wrong in the first place. don't chastise yourself for being human, we kind of like you this way!!! :)

April 19, 2006 11:06 AM  
Anonymous janet said...

I totally agree with Lauren on this one that she is testing you. Don't back down, please, for the sake of the other 48 people who have the chance to get something out of your class. PITA sister is beyond hope.

April 19, 2006 8:44 PM  
Blogger Veronica Mitchell said...

I haven't checked your blog in a while. Good to see you are as funny as ever. And no reason to feel guilty over IS. A gerbil tangent? Definitely trying to provoke you.

April 20, 2006 10:01 PM  
Anonymous The Conservative Apple said...

Provoke is SO the right word for it. She is an attention seeker and those kind of punk kids piss me off. I used to substitute teach in a Georgia High School and this chick sounds as bad as one of my 11th graders! Seriously though, DON"T BACK DOWN! Give as good as you're getting, but do it in your own classy, hard-to-detect way!

And for her own good, you may want to slip her name and a writing sample to a tutor in the English department. The girl needs help.

April 21, 2006 3:14 PM  

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