Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No Heart/No Fart: This Explains a Lot

Today was the first day of Final Exams - every student's favorite day, naturally. My class today was up on the main campus, and the classes on the main campus have a far larger percentage of absenteeism than do the regional campuses. I have no idea why this is so, but it's so.

In this morning's class, three students didn't even show up to take the final exam. I predict that they will come to class on Wednesday and be all astounded and sputtery that the summer session is over and they can't take the final, when most of this kind of student didn't even know when the final WAS, or what it was about. It happens every semester, and it's scary. For the nation, I mean. SCARY. Sometimes, even at this level, a parent will call me at home to tell me why Junior was absent and to tell me that he'll be at the college on such and such a day to take the final which I will please hand-deliver to him at his convenience. To which I reply that I am not permitted by law to even acknowledge that I've ever heard of Junior and there is no way I would ever tell someone over the phone who is and who isn't in my classes. Then the parent will get all huffy and imperious and I'll start to snicker silently on my end, because after 26 years of having administration force me to kowtow and give in to this kind of parent, I am finally allowed to be sensible and professional about it, and simply hang up on the jerks. College administration will back me. If the parent tries to go over my head, it won't work. At least, it hasn't yet. Helicopter parents are a pathetic joke at any level, but if this attitude extends into a kid's college years, heaven help the universe!

Tomorrow, or, rather, later today (Holy cow, LOOK AT THE TIME!) I will give this same final exam to a group of students at a regional campus, and I'd bet money, if I had any, that every single student will be there, pencil sharpened, alert, and ready to take that test.

Most of the main campus students are just out of high school, and most of the regional students are older. Have work ethics changed much? Darn right they have. And not for the better, either. Sigh.

Dear Helicopter Parents of College Students: Your kid is raised. Stop raising him. If he's still an immature weenie, let life hand him/her some consequences. It's about time somebody did.
Love, Professor MeanJane P.S. Your kid is nineteen years old and still can't remember to bring a pencil to school. And no, he can't borrow mine. Suck it up. If he wants a grade on a test, he can go down to the bookstore and invest in a two-dollar collegiate-licensed pencil. Yes, they are too expensive and yes, it's ridiculous. At Target he can get a whole package for a dollar, but then he'd have to remember to bring one to class. You are not allowing your kid to grow up, and he doesn't have what it takes to do so himself. This is your fault. Back off. Let him struggle and fail, and then perhaps he will struggle and succeed. No, this is NOT being cruel. Cruelty is keeping your kid a kid too long, and doing all the work for him. Step back and don't give in when he comes crying to you about how hard life is.

This is one of many reasons why I am a firm believer in mixed-age classes. At this level, I'll have students from 17 to 80 in one room, and each has something invaluable to give to the other. The best thing of all? We don't really have many discipline problems, and if we do, the student is escorted out of the building immediately. As such students should be at ALL levels, so our nice hardworking kids might be able to climb higher and see farther and accomplish much more, without being constantly albatrossed by discipline problems that are allowed to get worse each year by spineless administrators and parents who can't see beyond their own child.

Remember Helen Keller, who had to be removed from her doting parents' home in order to be educated properly, because her parents were so sorry for her that they gave in to her every whim and turned her into a smelly obnoxious beast who demanded her own way and got it in every situation. Poor little Helen, let her have it; she's been denied so much! Annie Sullivan, however, knew better. Why can't modern parents and administrators see it?

After this week, the summer session will be over and I'll have two weeks of vacation before the VERY busy fall semester begins. I've peeked at the rosters and all of my classes, so far, are BIG! Of course, "big" at the college level means between 18 and 22, whereas "big" in the public school meant "over 40." And yes, I had several 8th grade classes of over 40, where kids had to sit on the floor and lean against the wall because no more desks could be crammed into the room.

Now, if the class grows too big, they lock the door and say "Sorry, try again next year." Much better!

I am a firm believer in playing my best with the hand I'm dealt, but that only works when there are 52 cards to be dealt. Add "just a few more," and the rules are changed, and it becomes a different game.

My roses are blooming and the petunias are beautiful and my upside-down tomatoes are doing well. The gerbera daisies are putting out new blooms and the salvia is purple and pretty. Come on over and smoke smell them.

Five years ago my life did a complete turnaround, and I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to adjust to it. Now? I'm happier than I've ever been in my life, and I know I am right where I am supposed to be. I know who my friends are, and who they aren't, and even though the blow was undeserved and terribly unfair, I'm glad now because I know that God led me through it and guided me straight to where I am now.

I wonder if we have any orange juice. . . . I still miss that BlogHer orange juice. And pretty much everything else about BlogHer, for that matter.

Life is good. Dig it.

And when life isn't good, dig it anyway. If you keep digging, you'll strike gold eventually.

Oh, and bring a pencil to class on test day. Them nasty ol' professors will show you no mercy; they can't, because they have no hearts. Nope.

They have no heart, and they never fart. That's why they're so mean all the time.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:57 AM | |


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