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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jane Austen Ruined My Life

It's wrong to want to kill 50% of your students...right?

This summer I started teaching at a small independent, for profit college which is a whole new experience like nothing I have ever done before. The environment is completely different as is the student body.

This semester I was asked to teach composition and effective speaking. Obviously composition is a no-brainer and very easy for me teach. Effective Speaking however is a whole other animal. And for some reason the college thought it would be a fun joke to put 30 students in my class. THIRTY. Now I know a lot of elementary school teachers who have to deal with numbers like that on a regular basis but I think I can comfortably say I would much rather have a room full of 30 11-year-olds than a crowd of disgruntled adults who don't want to be taking my class. Technically it's an elective but the students weren't allowed to actually choose their elective. They were just herded into Effective Speaking and told they had to take it.

Last week we discussed censorship, ethics, and responsible speaking. I passed out topics to each table and asked them to come up with discussions, impromptu speeches of a sort, based on each topic. I knew it would spark debate but I was unaware it would lead to an almost bitch fight. Somehow one particular student got off on a tangent about "rednecks", racism, and his love of the hispanic community (he's a skinny white country boy).

So far I have heard from my students that my class is boring. I have also heard every excuse in the book as to why certain individuals can't get up in front of the class and speak (ranging from panic attacks, to passing out, to throwing up). I had one student refuse to do the assignment last night because well, she just refused. Another told me it was all a bunch of bull.

Tonight I took the time to tell my boss my concerns about the attitudes in my class, and to share with him that tonight my room became the great racial divide. My class literally divided themselves into all the white kids on one side, every other ethnicity on the other. Upon discovering this, the skinny white country boy walks in and says, "What is this, a bus?"

Sweetie, only if your name is Rosa Parks. Jackass.

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