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Wednesday, 21 March 2007

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» You make me completely uncomfortable with your words. from apostropher
Scott Eric Kaufman relates the greatest student complaint letter ever.... [Read More]

» A Taste of what is to come? from And gladly wolde (s)he lerne
Over at Acephalous, Scott shares a complaint from his teaching days. A complaint from a young gentleman who claims "I write so very well". Since I've already lamented over sharing classes with people like him in the comments, I thought I'd bring up a... [Read More]

» Do I make you completely uncomfortable with my words? from Pharyngula
Should I feel jealous or not? My students never write letters like this. And if they did, I'm at such a small school I'd never be able to post them. (via Bitch Ph.D.)... [Read More]

» the best student complaint ever from Dynamics of Cats
I am soooo jealous h/t PZ... [Read More]

Comments

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Walt

That is the optimal student complaint. It can never be surpassed.

A White Bear

That is truly beautiful, Scott. Maybe now is the time to confess that, yes, you read in too much detail, and your words, your words, they make me uncomfortable.

Sine.Qua.Non

So, my teacher, is this for real? Seriously? How can you bear it as you make me so uncomfortable with your words.....that I never said a word.

I am sorry I am so very uncomfortably dense that you make me so uncomfortable that I never said a word.

Until he did, unfortunately, in written form.

~Sine

A White Bear

He does realize that this complaint is, indeed, in written form?

Whenever I get emails with prose like this in them (USUALLY IN ALL CAPS!!!!! WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! AND SMILEYS :-D!!!), I get a little voice for that student in my head that aligns with his prose style. Then, unfortunately, my brain overlays that voice on top of everything they say out loud. So for the rest of the semester, all I hear from them is TEACHER THIS IS YOUR STUDENT FROM YOUR SURVEY CLASS I DONT KNOW WHATS GOING ON BECAUSE YOU DIDNT EXPLAIN IT TO ME I CANT DO THE READING!!!!! :-D

Dragon Management

Hah hah hah hah....

Tell this kid that HIS words make me uncomfortable.

And that his words hurt my brain...and my heart.

Kerry

It's almost poetic. Maybe a villanelle, with the repetition, or a Shakespearean sonnet, with slightly varied repetitions and the last two lines veering off. Perhaps a sestina, though there'd need to be six things to repeat, and so far I've only got "words."

This might be how you know you've been in grad school too long -- this, and the fact that I really latched onto "so if I learned anything it is how to read things in too much detail" and thought -- yes! He learned how to close read!

I'm seriously thinking of trying to turn this into a poem, if that wouldn't hurt your feelings or your religious sensibility. It will probably languish in the back of my mind, along with "Having a Cold with You" And other poems I've meant to write but haven't.

Stacy McKenna Seip

Please (PLEASE!) tell me this individual was not a native English speaker.

Personally, I find his blatant sexism pretty darn offensive. His words, they make me so uncomfortable.

Mike Russo

May one ask the possibly-great person what completely racist/very offensive movie was shown? Because I suspect further hilarity lurks that way.

Note

I agree with Kerry, there is almost a rhythm there, some sort of repetitive lap that has an aural quality... maybe in a more concise form it would make a nice Blues song.

The Management

This comment has been edited.

eb

Those lips that your own mouth did move
Breathed forth the sound that said "I grade,"
To me that anguished to improve.
But when I heard your words conveyed
Straight in my heart discomfort rose,
Shaking that pen that ever strong
Was used in writing graceful prose,
And taught it things it knew all wrong.
"I grade" you garbled without cease
And fouled it as rotting pomes
Doth foul a bunch, which, like old grease
From kitchen to dump is cast from homes.
"I grade" you thwarted with a care
That ruined your course, saying, "as fair..."

mrh

That is awesome. Makes me want to teach.

Rich Puchalsky

Very good, eb. But it needs less elegance.

Once within a classroom dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of a voice gently rapping, rapping about some writing chore.
`'Tis the TA,' I muttered, `rapping about some writing chore -
Only this, and nothing more.'

[...]

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `by Email, truly your instruction I deplore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently your voice flapping,
And incessant mapping, mapping of your lesson plans galore
That you make me quite uncomfortable - here I opened wide the door; -
For complaints and nothing more.

[...]

In your class I have been guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the incessent voice now burned into my brainstem's core;
More and more I sat divining, with my head slackly reclining
On how to get the grade that I could have gloated o'er
That GPA-gainful grade that I could be gloating o'er
But my marks, they are poor.

[...]

`Instructor!' said I, `thing of evil! - grader still, though but a devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God that I adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the final grading,
I shall clasp a higher rating then the one I had before -
Or the head of your department shall hear of it galore -
Quoth the TA, `Nevermore.'


(Are English department teaching grad students called TAs, as those in the sciences are? Oh well.)

Karl Steel

Rich: I think yes, mostly.

What's weird is the one place a non-robot vernacular erupts into his prose, the "I thought it was lame that you decided to show a movie and a cop out because you chose not to give us any instruction." Lame? Cop out? Why the slang here?

Rich Puchalsky

Karl, because at that point he was writing about a *movie*. All the rest were matters never addressed in life that he had to painfully construct a theoretical example of writing around, like a translation into Latin.

Frowner

Though I am a lurker and a non-teacher, I nonetheless find this very evocative:

even though I had many disputes with those instructors we always settled them to my happiness.

At the same time, assuming that this fellow isn't a native speaker of English I do perhaps feel a teensy bit sorry for him. I've taught college composition to non-native-speakers who were accustomed to a very, very different way of teaching, and I had a few student freak-out/meltdown situations on these lines (although much less lyrical, alas).

Bourgeois Nerd

Your words, they buuuuuuuurn!

History Geek

O_O

To quote one of my favorite TV shows: "The goggles. They do nothing."

How dare you speak words to him Scott and not asking him what grade he wanted. Can't you see he write so very well?

On the serious side, I've run across this attitude in my fellow undergrads. The more I like the Professor, the more chance it seems one of these will be in the class. This gentleman seems to be a non-native speaker (oh god please be a non-native speaker) but usually they seem to be entitled brat. They go on to their fellow students before class about how they've never receive anything lower than an A on a paper in High school and how their teachers told them they wrote on a college level.

Annoying enough in a survey class, but in upper level classes I start thinking of places to hide their body.


Scott Eric Kaufman

No time to write this morning, but let me say this: the student is, in fact, a native speaker of the upper-class, Wonder Bread variety.

More later.

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