Monday, December 7, 2009

A Open Letter to Students Everywhere

Dear Students,

I have a very simple message for all of you from your teachers.  We can see you.  Based on my years of teaching experience, I can only conclude that you don’t realize we can see you.  Is it TV?  Do you think there’s a piece of one-way glass between us like on the detective shows.  In that case, you must think us deranged as we roam the front of the room happily nattering away at what we think is a big ass mirror.  No, that’s not it?  OK, then perhaps you think we’re just not that swift.  We’re too dim to notice the things you do while we teach.  I don’t know if I’d hang my hat on that theory either, students, because if that’s how slow you think your teachers are, what does it say about you?  I know, I know, get to the point, you gas bag.  Fine.  Here’s what students need to know:
  1. When you sit in the back of the classroom and stealthily mine for nose gold, I can see you.  Yes, you’re very clever sitting in the back row so the other students have their backs to you and can’t see this activity.  But I can.  Every time.  You don’t realize I can see you because you’re too busy sliding your eyes sideways to make sure no one near you can catch you in their peripheral vision.  Please stop.  Please.
  2. Those desks at which you sit?  They don’t have any fronts or sides, just tops.  So while YOU might not be able to see your own hand digging around to get at that persistent itch you so very clearly have, I can see it just fine.  Hey, everybody has had to do the shimmy a few times in their life when struck by a wedgie or some other personal discomfort while in public.  But seriously, some of you folks have this happen waaaay too often.  I’d like to refer you to my blog on odors and its related suggestions on hygiene.  And by “folks” I mean boys and men.  Despite the fact that we are subjected to commercials on the topic of feminine itch I have never seen a female student do this. 
  3. Guess what!  I have a phone too.  I even know how to send text messages!  I know!  And I'm so OLD!  This means I know what it looks like when you do it while I’m teaching.  When a person is bent over using both hands to fiddle in their laps with something just out of sight they are either texting or about to get arrested for public indecency.  It's cool , though, I can respect your decision to place text messaging above paying attention in my class.  I’ll assume that you will in turn respect my decision to rank sleeping in tomorrow morning above meeting with you in my office to help you learn the material that I was teaching while you were texting.
  4. Finally, here’s one of the ways I know you’re trying to cheat on a test.  No one takes a test and only looks at their own paper and nowhere else.  Sometimes people stare ahead vacantly and sometimes they look up at the ceiling or down at the floor.  Want to know where they don’t look?  They don’t look at me.  The only reason a student will repeatedly look at me during a test is to see if I’m looking at them.  And I am.  Sure, eventually I might not be looking somewhere else when they check but by that point I’m already aware of their intentions.  So, be my guest and copy that answer from your neighbor.  This is not my first rodeo, boys and girls, and I never give people who sit next to each other the same version of the test.

I know this seems like a lot of information but it really does all boil down to this simple message:  I.  Can.  See.  You.  Thank you for your attention in this matter, students.  It feels good to get this information out there.

Your Math Prof

P.S.  Yes, this will be on the test.  Duh.

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