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.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Minnie and I Have More in Common Than I Thought

Last spring, someone wrote in one of my evals, "Can be rude and snappy when cornered." At first I was a bit hurt. After all when Inappropriate Sister says something about how she read "In the paper" (which means a scene she hallucinated in her mind - two-seat fetus ride, anyone?) that at a college in Washington, D.C., one out of every five students has AIDS, I kept my cool. It was actually another student who had clearly had enough of her and snapped, "Oh, come on. That's just ridiculous!" And I was the one who said politely, "I'm not familiar with that finding. Do you think you could bring in that article and share it with the class?" She said she would and I, because I'm an idiot said, "Do you happen to remember the name of the college?" and she just laughed and said, "It must be one of those 'nympho' colleges," I will admit that I snapped and said, "I really don't think that's an appropriate thing to say about anybody, and especially not people living with HIV/AIDS."

And believe me, last semester I'm sure there were lots of snappy (and not witty - just probably rude, as noted in my evals) retorts. And honestly? I really was hurt and vowed to make an effort to be more patient. Even with the freaks. (Yes, I know. Brimming with patience and love, aren't I?)

But tonight? Oh, the snappiness is just genetically programmed I think. Tonight we reviewed female reproductive structures - internal and external. I told the students that a large portion of the upcoming exam would be correctly labeling these structures and I expected correct spelling and appropriate "academic" terminology. In other words, writing "pee hole" next to the urethral opening ain't gonna cut it. Regardless of my warnings, most of them flub it up anyway. One of my (male) students who typically sits slouched at the back of the class and has thus far not said a word this semester raised his hand, "There's gonna be a word bank, right?"

Another one of my many, many pet peeves. (My gob, life would be SO much easier if I didn't have so many pet peeves, you know?) So, at first I tried to be polite. "Well, actually, I'm looking for a higher level of learning. Recall and not just recognition, you know?" He whined, "I can't believe that, though. I mean, there's a WHOLE LOTTA words up there. That's just too many words to learn." That's when I snapped - much like Minnie is prone to do when she is cornered. "This is not seventh grade. This is college." He whined again, "But yeah, that's just a lot to remember." I got even MORE rude and snappy, "This is college. This is considered a class for upper classmen only. I expect a lot of you, and I expect that you are capable of delivering it." That didn't go over well. Just so you know, here's the list of "too many words" I expect them to know:

Uterus
Fallopian Tube
Fimbriae
Ovary
Cervix
Vagina

So, when I get my scathing evals about me being rude and snappy, at least I can say, "Yes, I was, and gob, I have to say, I think it was worth it!"

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21 Comments:

Blogger ProfessorDog said...

I bet I could get five of those right without even having taken your class. I haven't the foggiest idea what Fimbriae are--although I guess if I got all the rest, I'd get that one by process of elimination, too.

September 25, 2006 11:09 PM  
Anonymous propspony said...

LOL I have to agree with profssordog. I too (not having taken your class) could label those without a word bank. (I would then assume that Fimbrae was the part with the blank arrow after filling in all of the others though...lol)

Gob help this guy's girlfriend. She's going to have to haul out the whiteboard and draw him a map during their "special times" together. :-p

September 26, 2006 2:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For one thing, those are all things he should have already learned in seventh grade.

September 26, 2006 6:24 AM  
Blogger Kate C. said...

It is so hard not to snap at times. I had a few snapping moments myself last week. In an Intro to Women's Studies Class, while we were talking about various stereotypes of women and the effect those stereotypes have on women and men, one male student raised his hand and said, "Why is it ok for women to call each other slut, but it is not ok to for me to do it." Another student was the one who replied, "Why would you want to call a woman a slut," but he wouldn't let it drop. He was not satisfied with the explanation that some groups adopt negative language as a way of controlling that language. Honestly, I have no idea what answer he wanted. Finally, I snapped "This is not advancing the conversation in any way and we are moving on." At the end of class, another student asked me "Do I actually need to buy the book for this class? I mean are we going to use it a lot?" Um, yes.

September 26, 2006 7:11 AM  
Anonymous Shark said...

I taught a few classes while I was in the military, including some at the U.S. Naval Academy. Regrettably, there was always someone who provided sufficient provocation by his ignorance, apathy or inertia to require the use that old chestnut: "Your recruiter should be court-martialed for treason."

September 26, 2006 7:35 AM  
Anonymous elsie said...

I had a student in a 400-level Literary Criticism class (this is a course that covers new criticism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, postcolonialism, etc) complain because the vocabulary quiz wasn't MATCHING! I seethed for days over that. And what's worse is that she was one of those students who'd been allowed to walk in the graduation ceremony even though she hadn't finished her degree yet.

September 26, 2006 7:37 AM  
Blogger mex said...

Having recently discovered yr blog has caused me to lose hours each day, absorbed in yr current and past.

I +know+ you've been advised to write a book! Yr hysterical.

Because I did indeed teach every grade but 1st.. for 31 years, I am able to translate almost any crap they (+they+ being the alleged learners).. my take on a "two seat fetus ride" is that she (the inappropriate sister.. LOL.. great name!)... anyway, she slept in fetal position on 2 airplane seats

It amazes me, tho, that she knew how to lift the armrest on the "seets"

Keep on keeping on. Yr a hoot, and the first click I make on my daily interweb rounds!

September 26, 2006 8:37 AM  
Blogger mex said...

Having recently discovered yr blog has caused me to lose hours each day, absorbed in yr current and past.

I +know+ you've been advised to write a book! Yr hysterical.

Because I did indeed teach every grade but 1st.. for 31 years, I am able to translate almost any crap they (+they+ being the alleged learners).. my take on a "two seat fetus ride" is that she (the inappropriate sister.. LOL.. great name!)... anyway, she slept in fetal position on 2 airplane seats

It amazes me, tho, that she knew how to lift the armrest on the "seets"

Keep on keeping on. Yr a hoot, and the first click I make on my daily interweb rounds!

September 26, 2006 8:43 AM  
Blogger Fraulein N said...

Oh my gob. He did NOT ask for a fucking word bank. A WORD BANK? MATCHING VOCABULARY? I haven't even heard these terms since ... oh, second grade, maybe? Seriously.

Kate C. - to be fair (and oh, how I hate to do that), I have had professors say that a certain text was required and then never use it. Not implying that you would do that but it happens. Yeah, it was a stupid question but one that sadly needs to be asked sometimes.

Don't know what that kid who was dying to say slut expected though? I mean, did he really expect to get some kind of pass? "Oh no, Justin, you misunderstood. You are totally allowed to call women sluts. Sorry for the confusion!"

September 26, 2006 9:32 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

I'm just, well, I don't know. A word bank for six freaking words? Are you kidding me?

I think I would have stood up and told him (student to student) to pull his head outta his, um, yeah.

I've decided that I must get a hold of one of those "I see stupid people" shirts strictly for attending my college classes.

September 26, 2006 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Miss Britt said...

I've thought of a solution. Or at least, a just reward/punishment.

You should make T-shirts with the words "I Couldn't find the Vagina on my Human Sexuality test" screen printed on the front.

Distribute them after the first test.

September 26, 2006 10:38 AM  
Anonymous drunkenspaniel said...

I'm not very familiar with American Education systems - can you just remind me how old these kids are, please? In the UK, 'college' is what you go to when you're 16-18 because you didn't stay on at school. I just want to compare...

September 26, 2006 1:55 PM  
Anonymous silliyak said...

Saw this joke and thought of you...


A Mother and her very young son were flying Southwest Airlines from
Kansas City to Chicago . The little boy (who had been looking out
the window) turned to his mother and asked, "If big dogs have baby
dogs, and big cats have baby cats, why don't big airplanes have
baby airplanes?" The mother (who couldn't think of an answer) told
her son to ask the flight attendant. So the boy went down the aisle
and asked the stewardess. The flight attendant, who was very busy
at the time, smiled and said, "Did your Mom tell you to ask me?" The
boy said, "yes she did." "Well, then, you go and tell your mother
that there are no baby airplanes because Southwest always pulls out
on time. Have your Mom explain that to you

September 26, 2006 2:04 PM  
Blogger ProfessorDog said...

I was thinking about "two seet fetus ride" as I drove to work today and came to the same conclusion as Mex--that it probably means sleeping in a fetal position across two seats. Or else it's just a random helping of word salad. Either way.

I like Miss Britt's idea re: t-shirts. Except that would get pricy, so I suggest buttons. If you buy a couple hundred at a time they'll be fairly cheap. And "I couldn't find the clitoris" would be funnier.

September 26, 2006 6:31 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

A word bank for THAT? I had those terms, and more, I think, to label in high school! I don't think we had a word bank, either (though I can't swear to it). What ARE fimbriae, though? Never ran across that one before. (The female reproductive system really isn't my area of interest, though.)

September 26, 2006 10:27 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

I'm so relieved that I'm not the only one who doesn't know her Fimbriae from a hole in the ground.
I am the Queen of Snark, so am very prone to the rude, snappy comment. Sometimes I think I'm being patient, but the rolling of my eyes usually gives me away. Would your students think it rude when I tell my class "This is not Romper Room-play time is over!" or "I'm sorry, you must be in the wrong room, because Jackass Spanish is down the hall." or, my personal favorite response when they ask for a free day "Free Day? Yeah sure,we'll have one of those the day after Never!"
You keep right on being rude and snappy, we'll keep each other company in that small corner of hell reserved for us.

September 27, 2006 6:51 AM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Frank et al - Fimbriae are the "fingerlike projections" at the end of the Fallopian tubes. They drape over the ovaries and when ovulation occurs, the fimbriae start "waving" creating small currents in the abdominal fluid that move the ovum into the Fallopian tubes. Now, if you're ever on Jeopardy, you're ready!

September 27, 2006 9:21 AM  
Blogger mex said...

I tried to Blogroll you, but am too dumb- so I just tried to link you (and professor dog) in a comment. Thx for the inspiration.

Syb

September 27, 2006 11:38 AM  
Blogger Katherine said...

Wow, what a bunch of babies! I don't see why any student's eval would even be taken seriously. Of course they're going to complain if you make them actually work.

September 27, 2006 5:34 PM  
Blogger Cara said...

You are hysterical, Teacher Lady, and as a former sex ed educator to college students, I feel your pain.

September 28, 2006 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first time poster, long time fan. I work for an international scholarship and I love reading professor blogs to see that it's not just we that get fed up with these kids sometimes. I reread the post on the two seat fetal ride and it occurs to me that she is referring to lying down on two airline seats curled up in the fetal position, so as to fit.

September 29, 2006 4:44 AM  

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