December 6, 2006

Some days

I wonder if me teaching is such a good idea.

I work at it. I really do. I craft lectures. I try to fix the bad ones. I try to incorporate interesting material. I try to make connections across time and space.

I have a couple of lectures that I truly love giving. I love the one on Abolitionism in the North and the beginnings of the "lost cause" in the South. I like my lecture on the 1950s family mythology and the origins of the modern feminist movement.

I know that my good students care about it. I usually have students tell me after the class is over that they had never approached history in this fashion before.

Then there are days like today. One couple has demonstrated their fondness for each other every damn day. Little touch on the elbow and some googly eyes (technical term). Or, because of the classroom, a touch on the leg and a knowing look.

I feel like I am in a Seinfeld episode. Not only do I have goddamn Shmoopies in my class, but I have given them the half turn as well as the full turn with the eye roll!



ubub said...

Allegedly, these are adults, so while their behavior is foolish and makes you uncomfortable, I'm not sure it is an instructional issue, in a university setting, unless it is disrupting class. If that's the case, pull them aside before or after class and let them know that their schmoopiness is inappropriate and is making a scene. Embarass them, but do so privately. At first. If it continues, then maybe you can suggest they get a room and make sure you do it in front of the class.

Streak said...

I actually thought I did. One time after class, they were waiting to talk to me, and I suggested they get a room. It seemed to not effect them at all.

volfan007 said...


you mean that you are not a romantic?

ooooohhh, know you like romance?


Bootleg Blogger said...

Sophmore hlstory class- Prof stopped class and told a couple toward the back ofthe leture hall that if they wanted to make love to please find another venue. It IS college- they MUST have a room between them! Later BB

Bootleg Blogger said...

Streak- one more thing, don't forget that those of us prone to achievment, perfectionism, and melancholy have difficulty keeping the negative in perspective, especially when a positive happened as long ago as yesterday:-). You said yourself that there are students who "get it" and let you know. Concentrate on those at least as much as the shmoopies- I know disregarding the shmoopies would be asking the impossible.

Leslie said...

I'm also a faculty member; this semester I'm taking a 1000-level geology class just out of my own interest. I see the same thing happening all around me in my 200-person lecture class. Here's the thing: if you've already pulled them aside privately and talked to them, if their behavior is disruptive to you (and it probably is to other students in the class as well), YOU NEED TO CALL THEM ON IT! In class, preferably, where you can allow their peers to help influence their behavior. I taught high-school English for 12 years and it is my experience that you get what you ask for.

Streak said...

I think you guys are all correct, and believe I erred early in the semester. I should have called them explicitly on it when they didn't catch my hints, but didn't and then it felt too late.

I am learning too. I think one of my frustrations is that I like to have fun in class--I like to forge a nice relationship with the students. When it works, it is great fun. But sometimes these incoming freshman are just too close to high school, I guess.

Funny thing is that I also have a High School senior in the same class. Better student--easily--and better behaved.

All of this goes into the memory bank for next time. That and the student who answered a phone during a film presentation.... More on that later.

Wasp Jerky said...

Have them come up to the front of the class and demonstrate proper makeout technique for everyone.

JMG said...

Ha, I like wasp jerky's suggestion!

Say Streak, how would you handle a student calling you drunk from a frat party at 1:00 in the morning? That's what happened to me last night!

Streak said...

Holy crap! I think I would be pretty pissed off at a drunken phone call in the early hours. Or at 7 pm, for that matter.

WJ, your comment reminded me of another lecture where I found myself in a Monty Python moment. I am lecturing on 19th century sexuality (which is usually a pretty popular lecture) and had students chatting toward the back of the room!

Streak said...

BTW, JMG, how did you handle that phone call?

Anonymous said...

I think I would be pretty pissed off at a drunken phone call in the early hours. Or at 7 pm, for that matter.

Yeah, sorry about that.

Streak said...

Now that is funny.

JMG said...

I was royally pissed! He thinks I told him that I was going to kick his ass, but that was his drunken self putting words in my mouth. I told him he'd better remember who gives the grades in this class, but then my cell signal died, so he probably thinks I hung up on him, which is probably just as well. I'll deal with him at the final exam.

I thought about calling him back at around 5:30 this morning, but I figured he'd think I was playing his game, so I refrained.

I didn't get back to sleep for over two hours (my husband too), and to make matters worse, I had to get up and go have surgery this morning. Believe me, this guy is going to see a side of Professor JMG that he's never seen before!

volfan007 said...


i would have called him at 5:30 am to see if he was "alright."

bye for now schmooopies,