Thursday, August 30, 2007

School Daze

It has not been my finest week. School is off to kind of a rocky start. The first class went well enough. Thirty more or less friendly faces, thirty names to try to sort into people as time goes by. Some, even on the first day, stand out as friendlier,warmer, and some as a little more challenging. But the one that got me came out of left field. Before class she and her friend, the other "non-trad" were chatting with me me, joking about sitting in the back. I picked up nothing untoward from her throughout the class. We reviewed the syllabus, did some self-intros. She said she was finishing up this semester, returned to college after twenty-seven years as a hair stylist. Said she figured if she was going to listen to people's problems, she might as well get paid for it. It was after class when she nailed me. On the phone. Started out by saying, "I don't want to be a trouble-maker but...." Uh-oh. Why is it whenever anyone says that, you know they are going to be? She then pretty much deconstructed the class and told me why I should not be teaching it the way I am (interactive with lots of student groups) and that she didn't think she was going to be getting her money's worth "learning from other students." Said if she wanted to learn from TAs she'd go to one of those kind of colleges, and if she wanted to be a teacher she'd be in ed not psych. Said quite a bit in that vein. Listened very little. Told me she could not drop as she has to have the class to graduate and she is in her last semester. Cut me off in the end and pretty much hung up on me.

I have not been sleeping well these last two nights. This is the kind of stuff that gets the Critical Voices off on a major toot. They were jumping up and down and hootin' and hollerin'. Especially at three in the morning. I felt sick all day. By class time I was ready to panic. So I sent a prayer request out to a friend, took a deep breath and went to school. She was not in class. I don't know what that means, if anything, at this point. On paper (or more accurately, on-line) she is still registered. There is no e-mail from her telling me she dropped, like there was from her non-trad buddy from the first day who did drop, telling me she overbooked herself. Um-hmm. Now I find myself wondering about her. Wondering about the next class, true. But also wondering what's going on in her head today. Wondering what kind of first week of school she is having and if it is as disconcerting as mine. I know that I was not the only one being prayed for. I'm glad.

7 comments:

Katherine E. said...

Yikes, Kate. That's the kind of experience that would "get me," too. Your initial response, with the Critical Voices in high gear and all that, would have been mine as well, I'm sure. I hope I'd find it within myself to have a second response like yours, too--praying for her, wondering about her life. How wonderful. Sounds like realizing her words and actions were all about her, and not you, freed you to be yourself.

May you know that freedom the rest of the semester!!

Grace thing said...

Lordy! Stressful. Hey, at least the begnning of your school year isn't boring! heh heh. My prayers for you...

Sally said...

Ouch Kate, that sounds horrible- prayers for you, and for those with critical voices.

May the God of peace, blessings, and grace be with you

"PS" said...

Hope the rest of your week has been
smoother sailing. The deep breath thing...good choice.

Tandaina said...

Kate ignore her. I know that sounds dismissive but you are the teacher, not her. Its not up to her to decide how she "gets" to learn or how she can "get her money's worth".

You've put effort into this class, you made the choices you did for a reason. Stand by those choices!

((RevDrKate))

RevDrKate said...

Thanks all your support is appreciated! Katherine, I don't feel quite as generous towards her, or as freed up about me as I sound in the post, I fear. Sometimes I think if I say it enough it will be true. "Little Engine That Could" self-therapy. I'm still praying to remember and do exactly as you say, Tandaina, and "stand by my class".

revabi said...

Ya know, i don't think I want that woman cutting my hair or being my therapist. But I understand getting the critical voices going. They are so helpful. Glad you asked from prayer and took some deep breaths. I like you could get to the place to pray for the two. They sound like they need it. And I am with tandaina.
Hope the class goes better, the critical voices calm down and trust you to do your best.