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Monday, February 14, 2011

"Know that a smile will rally many to thy cause, while a frown would drive all away."

Update:  I just received an email with an apology and explanation from a student described below.  See, a smile does work! :)

I am still struggling with a group of students I blogged about recently.  Thankfully, I don't get as many confused emails and/or looks as I have gotten before but, for goodness sakes, I am giving directions in class, repeating directions in class, and then emailing those directions!  Still, can't get through to some students... Are they just lazy, stubborn, or what???

A couple of them are rude, too...  We tried online chat today and one student became impatient.  I was explaining a concept and didn't answer his/her question right away.  It was rude to interrupt my presentation with a question anyway but then, less than a minute later, this person interrupted again, "Will you answer my question?"  Honestly, I was seething but kept smiling and typing in the remainder of my explanation.  Then I responded to him/her with "I will, in a sec."  I made a point of not responding to his/her question until I have answered other students' questions who were following directions and asked questions when prompted.  Then I typed in "Here is an answer to your question, Stu..." and included a smiley.

We proceeded with class discussion and I responded to one of the questions with a short joke.  I am not the type of person who goes into useless talk and forgets what needs to be discussed.  Yet, the same student interrupted rudely with "Will you get back on track?"  I responded, with a smiley and "Lighten up, Stu!"  Other students cheered and told him/her to relax and enjoy the chat instead of being so sour.

At the end, when I asked if they had any questions and/or concerns about the assignment they were about to complete, this student decided to make the final point, so s/he responded with "I am still confused."  O.K!  My response was "I am still taking questions so how can I help?"  Obviously, s/he did not expect a polite response and so did say anything for a minute or so...  Then s/he admitted:  "Well, I guess I know how to do it."  Alrighty then!  I responded with a cheerful "Email if you have any questions" and congratulated myself on keeping cool and not saying anything I would regret later.

However, I did not like this exchange and I won't be surprised if it shows up in my end-of-semester evaluation.  This student was testing me and picking up the fight, obviously.  It's really not that big of a deal, I guess, but it left an uncomforable feeling...  I hope my response made a point and I won't have to deal with this student again.  I have plenty going on in my life right now and petty issues like this one are very annoying.

"Know that a smile will rally many to thy cause, while a frown would drive all away."

--Edgar Cayce

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