Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Distract Your Teacher

I’m going to call him The Viking, because he said he was in the Navy.  Perhaps I should call him The Fruit Bat because he always wore sunglasses, even though the class was inside, at night, and I dimmed the lights to show my slides (he said he wore them to foil facial recognition software).  Maybe I’ll call him Idle because he never stopped talking; throughout every class he muttered agreements, comments, questions and unintelligible grunts.  He was The Guy in the Front Seat Who Always Had His Hand Up.  He was The Only Game Student I Ever Had Who Openly Hated Games.

I’ll admit he pushed the boundaries of my patience.

In last night’s class, he told me that he stopped doing homework because he was failing and the administration wouldn’t let him drop the class.  He continued to show up because “I ain’t stupid.”  I’m guessing there was some penalty worse than failing for incomplete attendance.

The class began with a visit from my boss, who gave what he calls his “Fear of God Speech.”  In a nutshell: work hard because you’re going into a competitve field. I always felt the speech was unnecessary (who doesn’t know you have to work hard?), but Bat Viking said he wished he had heard in on the first day of class.

So I started going through my class on writing stories and creating solid characters.  I got to the part where I warned against throwing a bunch of traits together to make a character.

Idle went crazy.  He threw his pen down and wondered aloud why he had to know about characters.  He was a programmer; he’d never write.

I explained that story development was integral to games, he’d have to work with stories in the game industry, and I wasn’t teaching a programming class.

He railed on, complaining about the first homework assignment (weeks ago) I had graded him poorly on.  It was a biography assignment, and he had listed a bunch of random achievements instead of writing, well, a biography.  I said I’d be happy to talk about his homework after class time.

“Fine,” he said.  “Go on.”

That’s where I snapped a bit.  Maybe it was because he interrupted me when I was speaking.  Maybe it was him telling me what to do.  I usually crumble when anyone, especially students, attack me verbally.  This time I didn’t.

“No,” I said.  “I don’t take orders from you.”

Fruit Viking kept talking.  Kept muttering.  The man just wouldn’t shut up.

“Just go on,” he said again.

I snapped further.

“Get out,” I said.  “Just get out.”

He grabbed his things and stormed out, all the while raging he was had planned to go to all my classes and that there was no need to throw him out.

Needless to say, I was “off my game” for the rest of class.  Needless to say I looked around very carefully on my way to my car afterwards.


sadaust said...

He wares his sunglasses inside because his vision is augmented :)

Matthew Kagle said...

Perhaps his future is so bright he has to wear shades.