Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hello! Adult in the room!

I'm really not cut out to be an authority figure.

Before class the other day, several of my students began discussing one of my colleagues--initially by way of recommending him as a teacher, but sooner or later you know what happened: they started gossiping about him. They traded stories about which of their mutual friends were in love with him and which friends thought that idea was totally gross. Then they started dissecting his mannerisms and wardrobe.

I tried to pretend that I was NOT HEARING this, keeping my eyes down and feigning great seriousness as I scratched notes in the margin of my lesson plan, but it was hard to keep a straight face. Finally, after one particularly outrageous statement, I looked up, made eye contact with the student who had just spoken, smiled wickedly, and said, "You guys know that he and I are friends, right?"

This abashed them not at all. "Oh, you won't tell him this!" said one. "Is he married?" said another. "Any kids?"

They kept talking. And then, to my shame, I heard something that made my mouth twitch, and then I snorted, and then it was All Over.

But karma'll get you. Last night I was out with several friends at a largely empty wine bar, 20 miles from RU. We were being really loud--laughing and shouting and arguing with each other and writing limericks on the back of napkins.

And? In walked one of my students.


Pilgrim/Heretic said...

My version of that last semester was when several students were talking about another student, one I'd never had in class but about whom I had heard plenty from my colleagues. (he's the sort who constantly asks unrelated questions, inserts random comments and generally derails any class discussion.) As other students came into the room, they heard the complaints, immediately reacted "Oh, are you talking about X?" and everyone would collapse into laughter and tell more stories. His greatest area of interest was related to a class I was going to teach the following semester, so when the students finally asked me if I'd had him as a student, I said "No, but you are all perfectly welcome to tell him I am the worst professor you have ever had and that he really shouldn't take my class!" which they loved. A breach of professionalism, that, but it was so worth it.

Sisyphus said...

I soooo want to hear what the cocktail-napkin limericks were. I hope they were scandalous.

Flavia said...

P/H: love it!

Sis: actually, the limericks (which were written at the end of the evening, as commemoration/commentary on the stuff that had happened before) were less outrageous than some of the conversation surrounding them.

But the great detail, which I couldn't quite work into the post, is that they weren't actually written on napkins, but scrawled on the back of a student essay that one member of our party for some reason had in her purse. And that I proceeded to spill wine all over.

(Luckily, it was an extra copy of said essay, and not the one that needed to be returned.)

phd me said...

There have been a few instances of me physically covering my ears and doing the "la la la" thing when my students are talking about professors or students I know - even though I'd so like to join in sometimes.

And I can't go anywhere here without running into a student, especially if I have a drink in my hand. Dinner fork, 50/50 chance; pint of cider, 90/10 chance. Drives me nuts!

Profane said...

Heh heh. There is a bar which is approximately a 1 minute walk from my office which serves $1 lagers and half price (and scrumptious) chicken wings every Monday. My students have had to get used to seeing me there every Monday at 4! Speaking of which, it is almost time to get over there. . .

Anonymous said...

Since I teach in a very small rural town, if I go to a movie, my students are there; if I go shopping they are watching and if I just want to stroll , they are there...just wondering how it'd be to teach in a metropolis. At least then wud hav some anonymity.