Tuesday, January 27, 2015

College Tantrums

Okay, so normally I think it's rude to gossip about strangers, and that's because it is, but sometimes, they really truly deserve to be talked about.  I feel like today is one of those days, and this is just one of those things that man, this girl was asking for it.  So we're going to have a little lesson here.  Gather 'round, children, and we're going to learn how respectable college students don't act.

My English teacher has a fairly strict attendance policy.  He takes roll exactly once per class period, when class is supposed to start.  He goes through the roll alphabetically, calling each name up to three times (last name -- last name slower and clearer -- full name) before moving on to the next.  If a student does not answer their name, they are marked absent.  Five absences is an automatic "F" in the course.  This is a big deal.

(It also caused me quite a bit of stress my first semester, because for religious reasons I would be missing, you guessed it, five days of class.  He annoyed me to no end with his insistence that I run around campus and find all the hoops to jump through, but I'm now grateful that he made me learn exactly what I had to do to get an excused absence for religious observance.  Once we figured out the legal and administrative bits, he was happy to not count me absent -- it's illegal to do that if the absence is religious, in this state -- and work with me on how to make up the work I missed.  He's pretty cool.)

So a girl came into class late today for the third time in as many class periods.  We've only had three days of school.  She's been late to every one, and obviously hadn't brought it up to the professor because I know he would have worked with her or recommended she take a different section if they couldn't fix the problem.  So he gave her his short informative lecture on how late equals absent and she only had two more absences for the semester.  She was sullen and spoke shortly, rolling her eyes and slumping into her chair in the back corner.

Halfway through class the professor looks over that way and calls out, "Is that a phone?"  We're still working though the kinks of a new semester so he was still pretty kindly when he told her she needed to put that away, and directed his comment, "All technology is turned off and stored away, right?" to the entire class.  I'd glanced over my shoulder to see who he was talking to and it was the same girl, slumped apathetically against the wall with her nose almost to the desk.  I was looking at the professor again when he asked, "What are you doing?" I thought he meant to ask what she'd been doing on her phone, which was a little weird.  But when she snapped, "Leaving!" I turned around and realized she'd gotten to her feet, picked up her bag, and was in the process of snatching up her binder and smartphone (screen still brightly lit) to storm out the door.

I don't think anyone wasn't shocked by this behavior.  No cell-phone use in class is a pretty standard policy, because it's still considered very disrespectful and disruptive.  There was nothing terribly rude or condescending in the professor's behavior toward her, and he wasn't singling her out for trivial or personal reasons -- she was violating his rules and the college's rules, and he was letting her know.  There was no reason to be snippy or flounce.

I have a feeling this girl will not be on the roll on Thursday -- or will be entirely absent if she hasn't dropped the class.  (My boyfriend told me that she would be forcibly dropped if she were taking it at his university.)  With what her body language was screaming, it's better for the whole class if someone with that attitude isn't involved.  That's my take on it anyway.

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