Teaching at Point Blank

The title of today’s post comes from the title of Jo Scott-Coe’s memoir about teaching, which I have to say is a must read. I’ll do a review later–but this is…more pressing

I work as a lecturer for a major university. The new semester starts up in 3 weeks and I’ve been busy getting the online site that would have the supplemental readings ready as well as fine tuning the syllabus. Early Monday morning, I got an email from a student enrolled in my class who addressed me as “Hey buddy.”

If that didn’t already annoy me, she proceeded to ask for the syllabus–but it was in how she was asking for it that for me really unnerved. She went on to say (and I am quoting her email), “I don’t know if I want to pick up extra hours at work or waste them in your class.”

Now, I read this in 2 ways.

1. She could be informal and trying to have a more friendly relationship with me as her instructor and might be cracking a joke with a particularly acerbic sense of humor.

2. Burn her. Burn her with fire. NOW.

She did close the email saying how she was “crazy stoked to take [my] class.”

No sooner than hitting next, did I find an email from another student which had a single line that said, “Is this class going to be hard?”

This is where I flipped my shit. I pulled up my class roster. Both students are listed as seniors. So they should know how to: 1. address a teacher. 2. Know not to ask questions like that.

And it made me feel weird because I’m only 5 years older than them, but I feel like this is such a generational thing. So am I overreacting? Would you ever talk to a teacher/boss like that?


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