Monthly Archives: January 2010

FYCL #22 – Hang up and pee.

Shy pee-ers hand out some advice on relationships, just in time to confuse you before Valentine’s day. We follow up on SJ’s experience with the vulva dye, discuss what’s bad (and good) about Cosmo, contemplate the romantic politics of gifts, and give you a ton of recommendations to have fun with.

FYCL #22, if you are still doing the old-fashioned-y downloading of each episode, rather than subscribing with our shiny new rss or via iTunes.


Closing music was “Our House” by Madness.

A reminder: although only the most recent 3 episodes are live in iTunes, you can always access back episodes of FYCL in our archive at

Got a question or a comment? Leave it here, email us at fyclpodder at gmail dot com, or come join our FaceBook group.

Rude, but not spectacular. Yet.

This one doesn’t have a nickname yet (please feel free to make suggestions in the comments), but I feel the need to tag his behaviour pending developments.

I don’t know if I have moaned enough for it to have entered into your consciousness yet, dear reader, but this semester, I have a dreaded 8am class 2 days a week. It is a class I enjoy teaching, and it is one that I can teach with relatively little audience participation. The latter fact is important because at 8am, your average student, being nocturnal, is even less inclined to be responsive to requests for verbal feedback than at other times of the day.

I taught this same section last year, and as you may remember, it was enlivened by the flailing sleeper. This time around, judging by their written work, I have a nice small number of female students who actually can tell their asses from their elbows with regard to MLA. Promising. Also in the class is one guy. This guy is a clueless asshole.

He was missing from class for a couple days. On Tuesday, there was an assignment due, which the studious female students all handed in at the beginning of class. Then I started enthralling them with the tale of Chaucer’s private life, which I know about because I read his blog.

About 10 minutes in, this guy comes into the classroom, walks up to the front of the class, where I am lecturing animatedly, and STANDS THERE WITH HIS ASSIGNMENT. Like, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Dude. I am talking here. So I glare at him, and he holds his paper out, and either I have to take it, or he is going to fucking keep standing there. So I take it, and he walks to the back of the room and heads out the door.

At this point, I have to pause in my fascinating discussion of whether or not Chaucer was happily married, and, indeed whether or not that matters at all, to ask this jerk where he is going. And he says something about being ill (if you are ill, why did you take the trouble to come to class and give me your fucking germs, let me just get out the Purell, here), and I snap back “Well, thanks for interrupting class.” And he leaves.

So today I get an email from him – an email of several sentences, all jammed into one paragraph, with no capital letters and little punctuation – which explains, among other things, that his illness is some kind of skin condition (FANTASTIC), and that he didn’t get a doctor’s note, because it would cost $30. Is there in it one word of apology? There is not.

So, I am saying, just flagging this one, because I doubt this is going to be his only effort.

No, not that kind of snowflakes.

So, I dunno if you know this, but here in the Empire of Canada, it has been snowing like fuck. And so today, when I got home, in the interests of not breaking my ankle, I shovelled the front steps and then got to work on the sidewalk. Now the sidewalk snow had been trampled by many feet, making it all packed down and stuff, so it was harder to shovel, and I had to, like bash it a bit to get it up and then scoop it off the sidewalk.

I took a little pause to wave to my fambly, who were walking up the street from school, and some old biddy who is walking past stops and decides that what a person who is clearly struggling with an unaccustomed manual task needs is unsolicited advice.

And she says to me, I SWARE I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP, “What you need is a Dutch ho.”

Excuse me? Inappropriate much?

So I am sure you understand why I told her to fuck the hell off.

The “S” is for Speshul.

The beginning of the semester always means a trickle, or even a parade, of students who have to come tell me about their disabilities. Or rather, they don’t actually tell me about their disabilities. Instead, I get a laundry list of all the accommodations they need for some mysterious disability they don’t have to disclose. Because, as one student once said to me, I am not qualified to assess their learning. Yeah, right.

I am torn on the subject of giving students accommodations. There are some, like the hardworking and bright blind student I had, who have clearly identifiable issues, and it is often the case that the students with the most obvious disabilities are the ones who are working hardest to overcome them. Plus, you know, it is a lot harder to be coy about a missing arm than some kind of alphabet syndrome.

Students with identified learning disabilities fall into a couple of categories, I find: students who know they have ADD or whatever, and have a decent level of self-knowledge and do their best to get their shit together, and those whose disability might best be described as “whiny and entitled”.

Feckless is currently dealing with one in the latter category. This student came to all of 4 classes over the course of semester, and then, during the last week, said that the reason he didn’t come to class was that he had some kind of social anxiety disorder, and could he be accommodated for it? Apparently, this means that he now wants to be excused all the classes he didn’t attend, and get 10 out of 10 for participation in the class he never went to. When Feckless declined to be that accommodating, the student filed a grade appeal that argued, among other things, that he should get good marks for attendance because he got an A for his essay (NOT a logic class, can’t you tell?) and that Feckless was a big fat liar. Is being a jerk really a social disorder you can get academic accommodations for?

I have a student who is shaping up to be a pain. It’s only the second week of semester, and I can tell, because in the last 2 days, she has sent me 8 emails, most of which are asking for basic information already given in class. After reading about the 5th one asking how to send me an email asking me a question about something which is clearly described in the course outline, I must admit to wondering whether she was retarded.

She might be, apparently, but of course the request for me to do all kinds of cr azy stuff like giving her my notes from every class (what notes? I make this shit up as I go along!) doesn’t specify what her actual problem is. See, as the person attempting to teach her, this is none of my beeswax. As a matter of policy. Do I sound a bit tetchy about this? That’s because it is fucking ass-backwards and recockulous.

Because of privacy issues, though, that’s how it works in higher education. The only people who actually know what the student’s particular learning problems are are not her teachers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of the people working as advisors or whatever to students with disabilities are doing a great job, but they are hampered by not knowing exactly what is going on in the classroom. And when the student’s disability includes being whiny and entitled (see above), this can mean that there’s a whole lot of room for students to play mommy (the prof) against daddy (the disability advisor). Unless, of course, they talk. Which is my secret weapon.

I put my foot down with today’s snowflake on the issue of recording the class. Well, that and not sharing my invisible notes. Not because I am shy about being recorded (DUH, FYCL), but because I run discussion-based classes, and I honestly believe that there are students who will be discouraged from participating in a discussion if they know (as they must be informed) that it is being recorded. I don’t think it is reasonable for one student’s needs to be met if it disadvantages another.

This, of course, makes me like kryptonite to the Speshul Snowflakes, who don’t understand this at all.

FYCL #21 – Legally drunk.

Feeling like you need some healthy lifestyle advice? There’s none here. Instead, there’s snark about ballet gear, early mornings, special snowflakes, whether feminism sucks the fun out of stuff, how fucked up we have to be to need vulva dye, and our usual recommendations.

FYCL #21, if you are still doing the old-fashioned-y downloading of each episode, rather than subscribing with our shiny new rss or via iTunes.


Closing music is Love TKO by the late Teddy Pendergrass.

A reminder: although only the most recent 3 episodes are live in iTunes, you can always access back episodes of FYCL in our archive at

Got a question or a comment? Leave it here, or email us at fyclpodder at gmail dot com.

Good Lord, another semester.

It occurs that I haven’t written a post in a while. This is because I was comatose, enjoying the break between semesters, eating, drinking, procrastinating and watching Foyle’s War. Of course, I was also using this time to choke down my raeg, and gird my loins.

I have been pondering the issue of student entitlement – there’s so much of it, and we talk about Generation Snow, and everyone has their stories to tell. (This morning, I got a good laugh out of this guy, whose name alone is worth a chuckle or two.) I also spent some time on my break talking to a student who is genuinely FURIOUS that his university professors won’t give him 100% for learning 75% of the material for his courses. No, seriously. Stop snorting. His argument was that since he only needed to know 75% of the material, the other 25% was just there for suck-ups who wanted to impress the professor.

Plus, they are making him take classes on stuff he already knows. He knows that stuff! And then he goes into class with a shitty attitude, and doesn’t do very well! Even though he knows the material! It makes him angry!

Let’s call it Too Good for This Class syndrome. There’s this student (most often male, but sometimes she’s female), and for whatever reason – innate arrogance, a lifetime of having his self of steam stroked, procrastination over doing my petty little Freshman Comp course – this student comes into the classroom on Day 3 (having missed Days 1 and 2 because, you know, who needs introductory information), convinced that I have nothing to offer and that he or she really just should be given an A for being just that awesome.

Here’s the thing: some of these students might be bright, they might be able students who are capable of getting good grades… Okay, some of them are dipshits like the Groomer, who can’t spell and wouldn’t know a supported argument if it bit them in the ass, but I digress. Even if they are students who have previously been successful, they will often shoot themselves in the foot by assuming that this class that the institution has mandated that they take, and will not let them test out of, has nothing to offer. So they don’t attend, and they assume they know what’s going on and they do all the things that bad students do, and they end up doing badly in courses where, yes, they probably ought to have earned an A.

The issue here is the confusion between the ability to earn the grade, and the impression that you deserve the grade.

I had one of these last semester. She would come to class (when she came, which admittedly was not often), and would sit and sigh audibly. She refused to participate in class discussion, and fairly rapidly stopped coming to discussion classes at all. The course was structured so that there was a discussion class each week, followed by a writing lab, in which students did practical writing exercises based on the ideas we had discussed the previous class. Missing the previous class meant that this particular student always thought she knew what the writing assignment entailed, but she always missed the nuance of what was required. Well, to be fair, sometimes she missed the point altogether, and on occasion she handed in work that was full of grammatical and spelling errors.

When I pointed this out, she told me that she had already taken Advanced Composition (the level above this class), as if that excused any errors. Dude. If you have taken Advanced Comp, why are you still spelling “definitely” as “defiantly”? Wait, don’t tell me.

She got angry about her grades, and complained that she should be doing better, as if it were my fault. Well, I wasn’t recognizing her genius. I suggested coming to class, an idea that was met with utter derision.

When the major research paper was due, she handed hers in without the required coversheet(It’s a pedagogical thing I do, not an asshole bureaucratic thing. I SWARE), triggering the following exchange:

Me: Where’s your coversheet where you amusingly try to predict your grade?
Her: What sheet?
Me: The one we talked about in class, that I gave out, like twice, in class.
Her: I didn’t get one.
Me: Maybe that’s because you didn’t come to class.
Her: HMMMMPH!! [followed by taking the sheet, filling it in, and then flinging her essay at me. Flung essays always get better grades.]

After the final (during which she wrote a rant about how incensed she was about having to take my class – fabulous, would lol again: zero out of 10 – she came up to me and said asked if I could recommend any books she could read that would help her with her writing style.

Resisting the urge to stab her in the eye with the knitting needle I was conveniently holding, I replied, “How about the textbook for this class?”

FYCL #20 – The Art of Podcasting.

Break your January slump with advice (and smack talk) about divorced spouses and step-parents, babysitting and how to avoid it, tetchy ranting about goddamn anti-feminists, and we Ask a Dude about Manliness. As usual there are recommendations, and a highly offensive Dubious Sex Toy.

FYCL #20, if you are still doing the old-fashioned-y downloading of each episode, rather than subscribing with our shiny new rss or via iTunes.

Link! the Hero of Time:

Closing music is “Sound the Trumpet” by Purcell sung by the James Bowman and the luscious Daniel Taylor, because all that talk of Manliness made me long for some really fruity counter-tenors.

A reminder: although only the most recent 3 episodes are live in iTunes, you can always access back episodes of FYCL in our archive at

Got a question or a comment? Leave it here, or email us at fyclpodder at gmail dot com.

FYCL #19 – The Fish Hat Podcast

Recorded on New Year’s Eve, this episode contains advice on New Year’s Resolutions, the true story of Christmas Steve, lots of talk about cooking and drinking, and a fair amount of smack about stuff we found to P&L at online.

FYCL #19, if you are still doing the old-fashioned-y downloading of each episode, rather than subscribing with our shiny new rss or via iTunes.

Auld Link Syne:

Closing music is Billy Bragg, “Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards”.

A reminder: although only the most recent 3 episodes are live in iTunes, you can always access back episodes of FYCL in our archive at

Got a question or a comment? Leave it here, or email us at fyclpodder at gmail dot com.

Fish Hat