I don't like waking up this early either. But if I can't go back to sleep during class, then neither can YOU.
You don't become invisible when you take a nap during class. I CAN SEE YOU, so WAKE UP.
Your followers on Instagram and Twitter will understand if you don't post anything for a whole hour. In fact, I'm willing to bet THEY WON'T CARE, so put your phone away.
It is not my job to give you an A. It is your job to earn one.
If you want to be treated like an adult, then don't let your parents e-mail me to complain about your grades.
You do realize that your fancy cell phones come with clocks, right? So why do you keep showing up to class a half hour late?
I think it's great that you enjoy your friends' company. I don't think it's great that you feel the need to text them seventy-five times an hour.
If you want to see my head explode, then say, "I know I missed a month of class, but I think I should have gotten at least a B."
Sometimes it seems like what I tell you doesn't even go in one ear and out the other, because you refuse to take out your headphones.
I know that you're shy and afraid of sounding foolish in front of your classmates and me. But it's better to say the wrong thing than to sit there for the entire class every day and never say anything. At least the people who speak up are trying.
If you're going to claim that you have a "family emergency" and can't come to class, then don't stick around on campus afterwards, where I can easily see you hanging out with your friends.
You complain that authors like Mary Shelley, Maxine Hong Kingston, and William Shakespeare are boring, but I really don't see how your friends' Instagram posts about what they had for lunch are much more interesting.
If you're not going to do the reading, pay attention in class, answer any of my questions, turn in the work on time (or at all), or show up on time (or at all), then why are you in this class?
Threatening to get me fired, e-mailing complaints to the chair of my department, screaming at me in my office, or stomping out during the middle of class are NOT going to get me to change your grades (and yes, all of these things have happened).
When your writing improves, when you talk about the characters in the stories that we're studying as if they're real people, or when you tell me that you read other works by the authors just because you liked them so much, you make my day.
Last year, when I declined a teaching job and took out a student loan in order to finish my dissertation, I didn't miss teaching. I enjoyed being free from eight A.M. classes, grade complaints from students (and their parents), and e-mails from students who wrote stuff like, "Sorry I missed the last eight classes. Can you just e-mail me what I missed?"
I still love teaching, but there are still parts of it that drive me up the wall. I can't help thinking that I wouldn't be such a neurotic workaholic if I had chosen another career. But I've been so focused on getting my Ph.D. and becoming a college professor that I've lost sight of almost everything else. I can't even imagine what else I'd do (other than write, though I'd still need a day job), and I'm still not willing to give up everything I've worked for.
At the same time, I REALLY wish I could put this post on my syllabus, because the more frustrated I feel, the more nostalgic I get for the one year when I didn't have to teach.
What about you? Do you ever feel burned out or frustrated at your job? Have you ever had second thoughts about your chosen career? If you could say something to college students from this generation, what would you say?
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