Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, Sucky Monday

Yesterday was just one of those days.
For the past couple nights I haven't been sleeping well. I have no idea why; it could be because of an excess of sweets over the past few days or stress, although I don't feel particularly stressed out.

I did feel stressed yesterday afternoon, however. From the outset, the day was just destined to be difficult. In the morning I was supposed to go in to work at 10am to try to fertilize some sea urchin eggs so that my students could watch development in real time. It was sort of an experiment to see if this would be a feasible activity to do in the future. Jordan, the student showing me how to do this, and I spent over an hour trying to obtain sperm and eggs from urchins to do all this. It turns out, every spiny sucker which we induced gamete release was a male. So no eggs, and no embryos. Which was a bummer, because it would have been really cool.

The second thing was that during lab I had to show my students a 1-hour video on animal development, a video so old it was on VHS. The VCR in my classroom was hooked up to the projector that is broken at the moment, so I had to use the one in the classroom next door. THAT projector turned out to not be so great either, and I had to watch this movie three times with the color being all screwed up, and the brightness constantly fluctuating. Talk about annoying and distracting!

The icing on the cake was one student in particular decided to give me a hard time about his scientific paper assignment. The assignment was to go to the zoo, pick an adaptation that a vertebrate animal has, and perform some kind of simple experiment relating to that adaption. This guy decided to pick an adaptation that "didn't exist" because hypotheses "don't have to be correct". The POINT of the assignment is to learn something, and this guy thought he was pretty clever for sticking it to me based upon what I "didn't say they couldn't do", which was basically make something up. His whole paper was based on a tautology, which is inherently not scientific. He then got defensive and weird when I questioned him. I then spent about five minutes (in an angry but calm manner) arguing that what he did was not the assignment, and I was offended that he would waste mine and everyone else's time. I told him it wasn't MY grade. His comeback was that it was my job, which I can only suppose meant that somehow his poor grade would reflect badly on me. Then I stopped being diplomatic, and flat out told him he was wrong. I also told him and the class that it just so happens that I like teaching, but that he is destroying that.

And at this point, I was pretty tired due to a crappy night's sleep. And so I continued with my lesson.

At the end of class he approached me an apologized, and said he would re-write his paper.

All of this, on top of people just not following directions and complaining about everything. I should make them read 50 term papers from totally uninterested unteachable students: they don't know the meaning of boring and/or difficult.

Next semester I am starting anew, and I am going to be brutally strict. I don't consider myself a door mat, but I try to at least make class enjoyable. If that can't happen, so be it. I don't need my students to like me, and if people don't listen and follow directions, they will fail my class.

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