Thursday, January 17, 2008

First exhale.

Every semester, during the first two weeks of the semester, I require that all my students come meet with me outside the formal structure of class for 10 minutes or so. It's a fairly easy way to get the semester's conversation going, because it seems magically to dispel that anxiety that students have about talking in class, and it helps them begin to feel comfort in coming to talk to me. So it's a good thing, and I'm glad I do it.

But lordy, it does take up every ounce of time and thought for that two-week period. Beginning the day at 10ish with the first meeting, having them packed solid at every moment I'm not teaching, then extending into the darkness of winter evening... Don't get me wrong. I like learning that Student A is a the philanthropic scion of a hoteliering dynasty, or that Student B has a 15-year-old child, or that Student C speaks Welsh, but when its all over and done, I can't say I'm disappointed that I can, for instance, eat my lunch and pee between classes.


I have posted before about a certain well-known scholar in my field whose inexplicable insecurities (I'm trying to be sympathetic and kind in assessing it this way) have manifested themselves in really irritating ways. Well, s/he is at it again. I wish I could reveal the particulars of the current episode, but I fear that my thin pseudonymity is too frail a shield and I don't wish to tarnish someone's scholarly reputation. But really. The pervasive and even shocking sense of entitlement and self-aggrandizement in every freaking interaction I've had with this person is so off-putting that I'm surprised, frankly, s/he has had such a successful career. One would think folks would grow tired of the bullshit, no matter how smart the mind. I have.


squadratomagico said...

Acckkk! Condolences on your diva scholar interactions. Sounds awful! I don't get entitled people, I really don't. Such an unattractive quality.

And congratulations on getting through the two weeks of student meetings. I'm sure they appreciate the interest you show.

Lisa B. said...

Unbelievably devoted on your part, the meetings and the not peeing between classes.

I so want to know who the narcissist is! Is that a character flaw on my part?

Special K said...

1. The meetings are/were key. Bravo.

2. Again? Sheesh.

Renaissance Girl said...

Honestly, LisaB, there's a part of me that wants to trumpted the offender's identity from the rooftops, to warn others away from interacting with her/him. But I'm a young and vulnerable scholar, and besides I'm trying to be gracious and large-minded about the whole thing. But seriously--it goes beyond narcissism: the degree of assholery at work here is pretty spectacular.

Renaissance Girl said...

Oops. I misspelled "trumpet" in my rage.