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:
- 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.)
- She was late to the first two classes. And her phone rang in both of them.
- She is already monopolizing the discussion with not-exactly-related comments.
- 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.
- 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.
- She didn't show up tonight.
- 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.