Friday, May 7, 2010

"I Hate Dianna"

So I got another "I hate Dianna" essay today. A student in the MWF class sort of made me (and the way I set up the class) the focus of her essay. Instead of responding to one person in the other class (the actual assignment), she decided to respond to the whole class saying (basically) that they can't think (she thought all of their comments were too general and reflected little critical thinking). [and, yes, I feel defensive on behalf of the folks in the other class] But as part of her evidence she pointed how I have failed the class. First, I am forcing my students to only write about race even though I say that they can write about other topics:

"[Our teacher] ... did give us the option of writing about other topics of inequality such as sexism, ethnocentrism, materialism, etc. But due to limited resources presented to us on these other topics, writing such essays proved to be overly difficult in comparison to the racism topic which had an abundance of resources ... it is simply inconvenient to write about anything else."

I find this comment interesting since so many of the last group of essays were not about race ... and so many of them were good. The student who wrote this essay, by the way, is probably the best writer in the class but she has made it clear that she has no respect for me and there is nothing I can teach her. And this hatred she has towards me bothers me. I have felt it all semester and have not figured out how to show her that maybe I can teach her something. I have never really had a student who hated me so much. And I can't believe how bothered I am by it.

She goes on to say that I am using a themed-based 101 class and the writing is better "because we are being told what to do instead of thinking for ourselves." I actually never told the students this. I said early on in the semester that I was conducting research to see how a themed-based course effects writing. And I am beginning to see more and more that maybe it doesn't work.

I could go on. But honestly right now I am frustrated and tired. I don't think I have ever wanted to quit my job more than I have this semester. I know that part of me is taking her words personally and I do think that I need to consider how I respond to students who think differently. Are my end comments harsher? Am I "nicer" when the student expresses an opinion that is closer to my own thinking? I think I am pretty fair. Heck, this student is always trashing my teaching methods but she is still pulling an "A" out of the class.

But, seriously, I am tired. And to top it off I am on some new medication that requires me not to drink alcohol. I'm not sure how things could be any worse right now. I have a heavy weekend of grading and then some family stuff on Sunday. And then more grading after that.

1 comment:

  1. I feel your pain and your frustration. Last semester I did a food theme for Eng 101. The first 6 weeks or so were fine, but some students tired of the food theme. I ended up giving the option with the last 2 essays of non-food related topics. a few wrote about those but overall there was some grumbling. However, a number of students expressed their interest in what we read and wrote about. They learned about their own eating habits and about what is healthy/good. So, I feel it was positive for many. I think a theme for Eng 101 is tough (it did work well for the learning community Nicole and I did, however). Many are not ready to explore these themes in depth.