Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Elwyn, the diarist, celebrated his birthday in February - not just on the date, but the whole month. So in that spirit, tonight I will give candy out to my night class.

Also in that spirit, over the weekend there was a wonderful dinner for my birthday at Fine 'n' Dandy Farm.

For the first time, the first group in my online class has needed prodding to get busy. That sometimes happens with groups later in the semester, but never this soon. However, once I intervened, they seem to be getting it together now.

But that is nothing compared to what happened in the day class. There is a group that has two girls (and no, they are not women) in it who laugh and giggle all the time. A few weeks ago, I wondered if they were laughing at me, something like "look at the professor, how ugly those pants are, bet she got them at WalMart," or maybe, they are just being class clown, reminiscent of Adam Sandler in Billy Madison (a guilty favorite of mine). Or, it could be that laughter is irresistible when it is forbidden. This I understand. But, then I realized that they are laughing at another young woman (an yes, she is one) who raises her hand all the time, asks a lot of questions, and asks me to repeat things so she can take notes (I tend to talk fast). Now, even if they are geniuses and she is not (and this remains to be seen), I think laughing at her is totally uncool.

OK, so there are two guys in this group too, and one guy didn't come today. The other "boy" also constantly asks questions in class, of the sort that may be intended just to bust my chops, and this is really interesting, his two groupmates don't laugh at him. Anyway, they had 1/2 hour to do the first part of a reading-based exercise. The five other groups diligently did it. Each group, in turn, gets a chance to briefly present their side, and I must say, all did a fine job. This problem group is the second to last group to go. They did nothing. The girls didn't even have paper on their desks. The boy had the hand out I had given them, but it was blank. During the 1/2 hour of prep time, they talked about sports, the dorms they live in, the guy's ex-girlfriend, the schools they transferred from, why short women like platform shoes, how professors could be fired and replaced with computers, and what a money savings that would be. (They guy did the majority of the talking.)

During the first group's turn to present, that woman they always laugh at was group leader, and they giggled and giggled at her. I shot them a dirty look, and they did quiet down. Then, when it was their turn, the boy starts BS-ing, and doing a very bad job of it. So, after a few minutes, I interrupt, and say, "you skipped Question 5." He starts to panic, scramble, and has no response, finally coming up with this: "I'm not going to lie to you, we did Issue 19 instead." (Yeah, right, Issue 19 is not assigned until the last week of class.) So, I said, well, then let's move along then, because this is a waste of time. At the end of class, I told them, "be ready to go first thing on Thursday."

UGGH when did I sign on to teach high school?

After class, the fourth member of the group showed up in my office, and said, "I wasn't in class today, blah blah. What did I miss?" So I said, "well, your group did a terrible job, they did nothing in class except talk about personal things, all the others did well, but yours..." and he said, "...sucked." I said, "yes, sucked. And when put on the spot, they lied. So you should be prepared on Thursday." He said, "I hate to think I am the group motivator." I don't know if he is or not, but if he knows them outside of class I'm sure he'll report back. Stay tuned.

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