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.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Designated Mess

Remember a while back, when I blogged about the PITA awards? I have decided that PITA is a misnomer. Or perhaps just limits my options. There is another type of student I continue to run into and that is "The Designated Mess."

When I first started teaching, I figured that, you know, shit happens and every student would, over the course of a 15 week semester, have a little problem or two. One day Joe would be late to class. The next day Sally would need to make up a quiz. Then Greg's phone would ring and he would be so embarrassed that it would never happen again. To him or anybody else. The day after that, Tim would tell me that he needed to take the final early. Or late. You get the picture. Instead, it really works out like this: One or two students have every single little problem. Really. That's it. I'm sure this is not news to seasoned teachers and I know I've read this before, but it breaks down like this: 1-2 students each semester are responsible for 98% of my angst and anxiety.

This semester, Stinky Girl promises to be my designated mess. How do I know this? Let me count the ways:
  1. Well, for starters, she's stinky. She looks exactly (I mean EXACTLY) like someone who just rolled out of a van in the parking lot at a Dead show. For those of you not in the know, this means a stomach-baring tube top and a long skirt and flip flops. She is also quite overweight. Wearing a tube top that bares her stomach and barely (no pun intended) contains her size Double-D breasts? In a classroom? Oy. I just want to hand her a nice sweater and say, "Here. Put this on. You're showing too much skin for anything except a rock video." Sometimes I wish we had a dress code. (And also? I know. I'm a heinous bitch. I get it.)
  2. She was late to the first two classes. And her phone rang in both of them.
  3. She is already monopolizing the discussion with not-exactly-related comments.
  4. This weekend she e-mailed me to let me know that for some mysterious reason she had been dropped from my class. And couldn't I please add her back in? Well, if I were in my student advising center job, maybe. But as faculty? Please. I don't have that kind of power. Plus, at this point the only reason students are "mysteriously dropped" from class is for non-payment of tuition. Although she swore she was up to date on all bills.
  5. She came to class Tuesday night only to drop off her first reaction paper and to tell me she wasn't staying because she had a killer migraine.
  6. She didn't show up tonight.
  7. Experience tells me this absence will trigger an e-mail from her in which she asks if she can make up her participation points, or borrow the videos I showed in class, or come over to my house and eat pizza so I can explain to her what she missed in class.

And yet? I have 11 other near-perfect students who show up on time, who participate in a mature, intelligent fashion (well, for the most part . . . ) who don't ring during my lectures and who are adequately clothed. And Stinky Girl gets the blog entry. Go figure.

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Blogger Mrs. T said...

Intelligent, mature, near-perfect does not make for good blog fodder. Stinky Girl, however, does. Why is it that the ones with the most skin seem to be the most willing to show it all the time?Can't the grunge look come back in?

June 22, 2006 10:40 PM  
Blogger liberalbanana said...

Ain't that the way it goes?

June 23, 2006 7:16 AM  
Blogger Fat Head said...

Let me assure you - this does NOT just happen with the newbies. In my Masters level courses I see people like this all the stinkin' time! You are right. No doubt, there's going to be one or two freakshows that can't get it together. I sometimes wonder how these people make it thru the day to day stuff.

June 23, 2006 8:32 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

I'm having flashbacks to the chick who was line dancing to the live band playing "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" at Fitzgerald's in Vegas last year. She had little on and P and I were terrified watching her...afraid she was going to start popping out all over. And really, it was NOT going to be a pretty sight. We were really hoping she was going to keep all her bits to herself. LOL!

Bwahahaha. Incidentally, my word verification has "pew" in it. How appropriate. LOL

June 23, 2006 9:52 AM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

If she's been dropped, why is she still (sort of) attending?

At least the rest of the class seems to have their acts together.

June 23, 2006 9:54 AM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

MGM - Good question. She's still not back on my roster, but the university is incredibly slow when it comes to fixing administrative errors. So she might show up again - and she might not.

June 23, 2006 10:44 AM  
Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

Hey, I think I dated her during that month I was constantly drunk back in the 80's. Oh wait she would've been too young. must've been her mother. LOL :)

June 23, 2006 4:36 PM  
Blogger desiree said...

Yes. As a student I will tell you: I hate those students. It's like they have such egos or sense of entitlement or something that they think A) I am a supah genius and everyone needs to hear what I say and B) being a supah genius I don't have to attend every lecture.


LOL-eat pizza at your house so you can catch her up.

June 23, 2006 5:35 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

She's like that guy in Office Space that they keep trying to get rid of by moving his cubicle! Maybe you could try that- just mess with her a bit. Tell her she's been transferred to another section and then give her a fake time and location. You'll find her like 3 weeks later in the catacombs of some old building, muttering "I was told there'd be cake".

June 23, 2006 11:01 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Thanks for the great comment at my place and for pointing the way back here. I gotta say, I'm looking forwared to tearing through your archives. Anyone who links both Television without Pity and Jesus of the Week seems like my kind of people. The 20% conservative did scare me at first, but now I see the math is wrong.

June 24, 2006 9:13 AM  
Anonymous dear wife said...

I must admit I was the mess the past semester, so shit happens. To my benefit even when I am a mess I am always good when I make it to class, well prepared and participate well. To my defense I was in the lovely throws of morning sickness. Actually I think I have been the mess throughout a lot of graduate school, but that is what chronic illness will get you. Oh well.

June 24, 2006 9:24 AM  
Blogger NYC Educator said...

In high school I'd call home, but I'm fairly certain I'd humiliate anyone who behaved that way in my college classes. I'd try, basically, to say or do anything to make repeating the undesirable behavior as inconvenient as possible.

Why let their problems become your problems? Throw them back in their faces.

"I don't think the lateness will affect your average."


"Don't worry, Stinky Girl. Flunking out of school won't fundamenatally alter your lifestyle."

June 24, 2006 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

"Designated mess": it's perfect!

June 26, 2006 2:29 PM  

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