Friday, January 12, 2007

When Sitcoms Collide

The first week of the new semester has come and gone, and so far, it looks to be a really good semester. My hopes are high. Each class seems to be composed of really nice people.

Ordinarily, I do not post anything about my students that would reveal real names, etc. I think too much of them to expose them to potential, um, exposure. I like to share funny or touching things, but I don't reveal identities; I just don't think it would be ethical. Or fair.

But this is too good. I have to tell.

Most of my classes are large, this semester. I have a lot of older adult students who are here because they were laid off at various factories in this quickly-dying town. They want to improve their communication skills, change livelihoods, or just kill time before they are called back to work. I love these students; I learn more from them than they do from me.

One of my classes, however, is very small.

The first thing I do, on the first day of class, is give out the syllabus and discuss the contact information so they will know how to contact me. (Am I repeating myself much yet?) I give my my email address and my home phone number. (Some teachers will be recoiling in horror about now, but why shouldn't adult students be able to call me at home?) Isn't that part of my job, if they need to give me a message or ask a question? I ain't all that busy, socially, and a teacher who refuses to talk to students outside of class is. . . .well, never mind, some of us will never agree on that one.

My classes at the local campus are very laid-back. I tell my students to call me by my first name. Heck, some of them are older than I am, and honey, that's OLD.

This one small class, however, was too busy giggling to pay much attention to me. When I told them to just call me 'Jane,' laughter burst out all over the room.

"We can't. We have to call you Professor," one lady told me.

"Why is that?" I asked.

"Call the roll," I was told.

I tried to do that but after I saw it, I couldn't stop laughing.

In this class, I have Ginger, Mary Ann, Skip, and two Howells (unrelated).

I am ever the calm professional. After I stopped snorting Diet Coke out of my nose, I managed to say, "So, where's Gilligan?"

Answer: "He hasn't been laid off yet. He'll probably be here next semester."

Their foreman's name was Gilligan. All of these lovely people had worked together on the same factory line for many years. In all those years, they had never been able to stop laughing.

I continued to take attendance, and in less than ten seconds we were all laughing again.

In this class, I also have a Cleaver and a Haskell.

And an Anderson, and some of them were old enough to remember Father Knows Best.

I hope these lovely laughing people keep laughing all their lives. I certainly encourage it in my classroom.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:20 PM | |


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