As a teacher of wanna-be adults, I find it frustrating to just hear people vent about how horrible this or that teacher is. I guess that it's my idea of professional courtesy to try not to indulge in the same senseless venting. HOWEVER. Sometimes, it's not gossipy just to be gossipy but venting in frustration. Three weeks into the semester, and I realize (a eureka moment that actually happened about an hour into the first class) that this is going to be a long semester in my Chaucer class.
During the first half hour of class last night, mind numbingly inconsequential, especially when I'm paying for it!, I decided to take some notes about my observations and then share these thoughts with you. I also yawn a lot when I'm bored and/or nervous. I feel bad about yawning, but seriously! I'd been working since about 7 yesterday morning and was in my second class of the night. I'll give you half of what I paid, take my A, and we'll call it even, eh?
1. He speaks quickly and in a monotone.
2. Random, pointless clearing of the throat. Ask Ben; lots of throat clearing bugs me. It's so grating on the nerves.
3. He sprang this one on us last night: each one of us is supposed to take a turn telling a joke at the beginning of class! Oy vey! I'm 25 and the youngest one there...must we really partake of such asanine, junvenalia? A classmate, fantastic person that she is, and a former Manchester student (ergo, she can't be bad at all, right?) volunteered to tell a joke. It was hilarious in its stupidity and was a blessed one-liner. Check...let's move one with class. Oh no, Mr. Professor Man proceeds to tell TWO jokes, neither one short, neither one particularly funny. To his credit, they may have both been funnier if I wasn't beginning to get so peeved. Jokes are fabulous, but as a homework assignment of sorts to begin a grad class?? I try to avoid situations where I feel child-like; next time, apparantly, I must needs sit closer to the door.
4. Joke time over, Senor Professor says that now it's time, little boys and girls, to talk about world events (another "fun activity" that he likes to open a class with). So he read us, literally, a random news article about the chunk of the iceberg that fell off a few days ago. He chose this simply because it's called the Ellesmere (spelling?) iceberg, and a really early, rare Chaucer manuscript is called the Ellesmere manuscript (of which I'm not sure if there's a connection). Really? This is worthy of (his) discussion for 15 minutes?
5. Dramatic pauses. Annoying! Annoying when there's nothing about which to pause dramatically (I realize that I already ended at least one sentence with a preposition, so I have since reworded 2 sentences to not end with a preposition. I always feel self-conscious about doing that; will people catch me? Laught at me? Mock me? Death by a thousand pin pricks? Sidenote: irony...I realize that if I was just saying that out loud, I would have paused dramatically between them all. Apparantly, I'm a dramatic pausing hypocrite.)
6. ENDLESS, endless.......endless stories. To his credit (??), he did not include any last night. However, both classes previous had about an hour's worth of family stories ("Oh, as you are leaving our class tonight that I have already held you too long, I just want you all to know that it is my 41st anniversary..." applause, applause, applause).
7. His notes are yellowed and older than I am. This isn't necessarily a slam against him, but an observation about his unique teaching tactics. No wonder he says "Did I tell you about..." to which we all replied "Yes..." No worries, he can tell us again!
8. He repeats himself. It's like when he says "Did I tell you about..." to which we all replied "Yes..." No worries, he can tell us again! (Did you get the joke there???)
Chaucer's my homie, but alas, Dr. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named will never receive the duece (peace sign...I recently learned this from my wanna-be's) from this home skillet.
"It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated." Alec Bourne