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.