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, June 27, 2006

Why I Hate Other Grad Students

If I thought undergrads were bad, it's only because I hadn't spent any time in a classroom with grad students in the past month.

I'm taking a summer class right now and it's one that is required for all doc students in the college of education. (Ordinarily, I'm just with the dozen or so other health ed people.) And you know what? Grad students are really, really rude. Health ed people must be universally poor or universally technologically challenged, because I've never been in a "core" course where another student has a laptop computer. In these general requirement courses? There are always at least 3 or 4 students who come to class, sit next to the outlet and set up camp with their laptops. But here's what I don't get. They don't use them to take copious notes. Oh, no. They use them to surf the 'net and catch up on e-mail and instant message gob knows who.

There is a younger (well, younger than me, anyway) woman who sits in front of me in class and yesterday? She played solitaire for the whole. entire. class. She's not even very good at it, by the way. And then she had the cajones to get all bitchy and say in her whiny-as-hell sorority girl voice (as a former "sorority girl," I'm allowed to say this) to our truly wonderful professor, "I'm confused. The syllabus isn't really clear about the assignment." I looked at a fellow health ed student who also happens to be in the class and we both rolled our eyes at the exact same moment. I pseudo-whispered, "Maybe if you weren't playing solitaire every fucking minute of class, you'd have a clue." I hope she heard me.

I don't know why professors allow laptops, honestly. (And wait: Before you go getting all "special populations" on my ass, I'm not talking about the visually impaired, or the hearing impaired, or any other person who needs a helper monkey. I'm talking about people with no "special needs" that I can see. Then again, I don't know. Is "manners impaired" now covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act?) I can look around the classroom and see what everybody is doing. And again - ain't nobody frantically typing every single word that drips from the lips of our learned teacher.

I also hate the way grad students get all openly rude and bitchy (even the men) with professors when they don't understand something. And honestly? 99.8% of the time, it's not because the instructor is confusing. It's because the student is being a needy idiot.

Finally? Grad students bring their cell phones to class and although they keep them on vibrate, you can still hear the stupid thing vibrating and then the student has to make a big deal of leaving the classroom to take the phone call in the hallway. Just to let us all know that "I. am. very. important. I must take this very. important. business. call." And half the time, they take the call right outside the open classroom door and it's not a flippin' business call. It's this:

"Well, you need to tell Timmy he has to eat the Jell-O. Yes. That's it. No."

Pause, pause.

"He can't have any other snack. That's what he has. No. He can't trade with Amber. Yes. Okay. All right, put him on."

Pause, pause.

"Timmy, honey. I need you to listen to your grammy. I'm sorry. Grammy's not runnning a restaurant. You can have goldfish crackers tonight when you get home. Because Grammy doesn't have any. All right, that's it, mister. Do you want to ride your bike tonight? Then you'd better listen to Grammy."

And then they have the nerve to come back into class looking all important and not the least bit apologetic. I think cell phones have really transformed our idea of what constitutes "an emergency." But that's another post. Point is: I'm not amused by you disrupting my learning by getting up and leaving. And coming back in. And getting up and leaving. And coming back in. Again and again and again. Newsflash: You're not more important than everybody else. Accept it. Okay. Rant over.

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12 Comments:

Blogger liberalbanana said...

But I. WANT. GOLDFISH CRACKERS!!!!!!!!!!

Wait, sorry. I want possessed by Timmy for a second there.

You're right - before cell phones, Grammy would've just dealt with the problem. Life as we know it would not have ended if Timmy had to have a tantrum. I haaaaate hearing someone's phone vibrate. It's like I can FEEL it in my gut and it makes me queasy.

June 27, 2006 11:48 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

The thing that I hate is how eager they are to contribute to discussion even if they have absolutely no idea what they're trying to say. And even if they do have a clue, they take that one comment that could take all of ten seconds to get across and stretch it out to five agonizing minutes or more.

June 27, 2006 1:01 PM  
Blogger Schietto Sister said...

I truly am shocked that grad students would play games and go online during class. I think, as a parent, I would have my phone on during class IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. I would hope whoever was watching my kids would know that Jello vs. goldfish is not an emergency. People have become more rude and more self-centered.

June 27, 2006 3:14 PM  
Blogger Fat Head said...

Oy.
Fellow student here. I am ashamed to say that last Friday night I forgot to turn my phone off for class. Nobody ever calls me. Well, except for last Friday night during class.
Honestly, when my phone rang I didn't think it was mind. It NEVER rings! When I realized it was mine, I ignored it and pretended it was someone else's.
That's a big oopsie that will never happen again.
I DO agree with you - nothing is more annoying, disrupting or as stupid as some schmuck getting up to take a cell phone call during class. You ain't that important. Sit down and get over yerself. Dork.

June 27, 2006 3:44 PM  
Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

I am not a student, but I am a parent and I get some of the stupidest calls from my wife and kids sometimes. this afternoon it was from Wife, "Dale, can you call the house, Daughter isn't answering the phone, I left a long messgae and tried again, shes so busted, she wasn't supposed to go anywhere....." so here I am 42 frickin miles away at work calling Long Fucking Distance and guess who answers? Daughter of course, she was outside with the Dogs. Some Crisis. Imagine I was in your class, could I walk back in looking all important too. Nope, I'd come back looking all pissed off. ok, like you, rant over.

June 27, 2006 6:24 PM  
Anonymous susie said...

Every time I read your blog, I'm so happy that I quit teaching when I did. I could not deal with the undergrads or the grad students these days with their cell phones, text messaging, and laptops. I would seriously do some damage to myself or them.

My sympathies are with you.

June 27, 2006 7:08 PM  
Blogger Veronica Mitchell said...

I think we have very different programs. If a grad student tried any of that in our program, the professor would eviscerate them. Seriously. There would be blood and gobbets.

June 27, 2006 7:53 PM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

In my program, some of the master's students are complete jokers. Including one girl who text messaged the whole class one time. You don't understand, though, my prof is a GIANT in her field. Like one of THE names in Renaissance art, for Christ's sake! And the Designated Mess is totally present in grad school, too.

June 28, 2006 11:39 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Oh, I love those who think merely walking outside the classroom is enough and that we can't hear them yelling over the phone. I've had teachers with enough balls that would just shut the door, and not normally nicely, they were slammers. I'm guessing these teachers also suffered a bit from road rage. But still. It made the student feel like as big an ass as they really are.

Man, I am not looking forward to August. Thankfully just one class, just one more class.

June 29, 2006 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Ugh! But you are so funny ("manners-impaired")!

When I've got a babysitter at home and I'm at a concert or whatever, I turn it off. Not on vibrate, but off. I mean, how long is the class? If it's more than 90 minutes there's probably a break, when you can check messages. And what emergency can't wait 90 minutes?

June 30, 2006 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Lady S said...

I have a coworker (with 2 teenagers) who walks out of our monthly staff meetings several times to answer her cell phone. Mind you, our meetings last an hour, maybe an hour and a quarter. She does this every time. Grrr! Nearly everyone else has kids and not one of them does this. When she isn't answering her phone she is grading papers or making lesson plans. Once-a-month-hour-long meetings. Manners impaired, hell yeah.

July 05, 2006 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quick solution: send them all an anonymous message of how you feel...

http://www.whotohate.com

August 10, 2006 8:35 PM  

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