That’s okay, don’t pay attention.

No, I am not sitting in some dark corner experiencing an emo fugue state, it’s just that I have this student. Let’s call him What the Fuck Guy, or WTFG for short. He is in what is politely called my Introductory Comp course, where “Introductory” is a word that means “Remedial”. Needless to say, guys who get put in Remedial Comp get put there for a reason, which is that they don’t meet the prerequisites for Regular Comp. These prerequisites, by the way, are not onerous: can you tie your shoes? can you wipe your ass? can you spell your own name? That kind of thing.

So, he’s in Remedial Comp, it’s week 3 of semester and I already know him as the guy who is habitually late, who wears his ipod all the time. I am not quite at the level of yanking his earphones out, but his work definitely shows that he doesn’t hear instructions very well.

Yesterday, I went into class and there were a few puddings with laptops open, doing what they always do, which is Facebook. (As an aside, I hear that Facebook is “so 2008” and all the cool kids are now exclusively on Twitter, which I tried for like a day last summer and dumped because it was annoying.) So, I ask them to put the laptops away because they are doing some hand writing – I know! What a ridiculously old-fashioned idea! Mostly, they comply, although WTFG takes until I have explained the task and the rest of them are already well into doing it to get around to shutting the damned laptop.

The second thing we did in class was a discussion, during which WTFG put his ipod earphone in, presumably listening both to me and Celine Dion.

Then we did an activity sheet related to the discussion. We went through the answers. Every time I said anything like “put your hand up if you answered X,” WTFG was noticeably handless, sitting sideways on his chair, rather than looking at his paper.

Finally, we had a group discussion activity, after which, groups were supposed to report back. By this point, I was feeling less than charitable towards WTFG, I admit, so I did a mean thing. I called on him to be the person to report his group’s answer to one of their discussion questions.

His response? “I don’t know. I wasn’t paying attention.”

Well I knew that, genius. The thing that got me was not that he wasn’t paying attention, but that he thought it was fine to say that. Jeebus dude. At least have the grace to lie. Go with a “we didn’t get to that one” or a “we couldn’t figure out the answer.”

I just about prevented my jaw from dropping, but I couldn’t for the life of me stop my body, of its own volition, from turning my back on him.

3 thoughts on “That’s okay, don’t pay attention.

  1. cq

    it sounds to me like he doesn’t want to be in college…maybe he’s trying to fail on purpose….i had a student like that once and when i confronted him he simply said that he wanted to fail out to get his parents “off his back” so that he could pursue his dream of being a professional skateboarder…wtf i actually rolled my eyes at him when he told me that

    i really like teaching developmental writing so when i have an idiot that doesn’t care i just try to concentrate more on the students who actually want to learn and are really trying

    finally, celine dion? srsly? i would have kicked him out of the class just for that

  2. Sile

    Wow. Just wow.

    I’m really surprised you put up with the whole ipod thing. I would have insisted that all such devices be stowed in the overhead compartment for the duration of the class. That shows a blatant disrespect that should not be tolerated. DO NOT TOLERATE!

    I know that those things were definitely not tolerated in any of my classes (aside from maybe an art class where the teacher was not instructing), and anyone caught listening to such a device more than once would be invited to either not bring it or not bring themselves back to class. Heaven forbid someone wear an ipod to Dr Pollard’s class. He confiscated them and didn’t return them until the person wrote a satisfactory dissertation on the importance of the listening portion of communication.


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