Mamacita says: Today is the first day of the rest of your life the last week of the semester – every student’s favorite week, naturally.
I predict that several students will come to class NEXT week, and be all astounded and sputtery that the semester is over and they can’t take the final. But then, most of this kind of student didn’t even know when the final WAS, or what it was about. It happens every semester, and it’s scary. For the nation, I mean. SCARY. (Did I mention that each student has TWO opportunities to take the final exam?)
Sometimes, even at this level, a parent will call me at home to tell me why Junior was absent and to tell me that he’ll be at the college on such and such a day to take the final which I will please hand-deliver to him at his convenience. To which I reply that I am not permitted by law to even acknowledge that I’ve ever heard of Junior and there is no way I would ever tell someone over the phone who is and who isn’t in my classes. Then the parent will get all huffy and imperious and I’ll start to snicker silently on my end, because after 26 years of having administration force me to kowtow and give in to this kind of parent, I am finally allowed to be sensible and professional about it, and simply hang up on anyone who raises his/her voice to me. If the parent tries to go over my head, it won’t work. At least, it hasn’t yet. My department head is awesome. (Thank you, Carol. You rock.) Helicopter parents are a pathetic joke at any level, but if this attitude extends into a kid’s college years, heaven help the universe!
I am giving exams at both the main campus and at a regional campus, and I’d bet money, if I had any, that at the regional campus, every single student will be there, pencil sharpened, alert, and ready to take that test. On the main campus, I predict, maybe . . . half.
Most of the main campus students are just out of high school, and most of the regional students are older. Have work ethics changed much? Darn right they have. And not for the better, either. Sigh. I’ve had young students, used to years of community classroom supplies, actually expect to find colored bins of pencils, free for the taking, in a college classroom. (Community classroom supplies are the devil.)
Dear Helicopter Parents of College Students: Your kid is raised. Stop raising him. If he’s still an immature weenie, let life hand him/her some consequences. It’s about time somebody did.
Love, Professor MeaniePants
P.S. Your kid is nineteen years old and still can’t remember to bring a pencil to school. And no, he can’t borrow mine. Suck it up. If he wants a grade on a test, he can go down to the bookstore and invest in a two-dollar collegiate-licensed pencil. Yes, they are too expensive and yes, it’s ridiculous. At Target he can get a whole package for a dollar, but then he’d have to remember to bring one to class. You are not allowing your kid to grow up, and he doesn’t have what it takes to do so himself. This is your fault. Back off. Let him struggle and fail, and then perhaps he will struggle and succeed. No, this is NOT being cruel. Cruelty is keeping your kid a kid too long, and doing all the work for him. Step back and don’t give in when he comes crying to you about how hard life is.
This is one of many reasons why I am a firm believer in mixed-age classes. At this level, I’ll often have students from 17 to 80 in one room, and each has something invaluable to give to the other. The best thing of all? We don’t really have many discipline problems, and if we do, the student is escorted out of the building immediately. As such students should be at ALL levels, so our nice hardworking kids might be able to climb higher and see farther and accomplish much more, without being constantly albatrossed by discipline problems that are allowed to get worse each year by spineless administrators and parents who can’t see beyond their own child.
Remember Helen Keller, who had to be removed from her doting parents’ home in order to be educated properly, because her parents were so sorry for her that they gave in to her every whim and turned her into a smelly obnoxious beast who demanded her own way and got it in every situation. Poor little Helen, let her have it; she’s been denied so much! We can’t expect poor little Helen to do anything; she can’t SEE or HEAR. Just let her be. Cater to her every whim. Put up with tantrums, etc because she’s disabled. Poor, poor little Helen. Annie removed her from her parents’ home and forced her to live up to her potential. It wasn’t pretty. But it worked.
Annie Sullivan knew what would work for her student. Why can’t modern parents and administrators see it? Nowadays, Annie would be in the Rubber Room and Helen would be a smelly obnoxious adult with no future, instead of the successful college graduate, public speaker, and advocate of education that she was able to become thanks to Annie’s unorthodox but successful methods. (Helen was also on vaudeville, and in a couple of movies. She’s one of my heroes.)
Starting next week, I’ll have two weeks of vacation before the VERY busy summer semester begins. I’ve peeked at the rosters and all of my classes, so far, are BIG! Of course, “big” at the college level means between 18 and 22, whereas “big” in the public school meant “over 40.” And yes, I had several 8th grade classes of over 40, where kids had to sit on the floor and lean against the wall because no more desks could be crammed into the room.
Now, if the class grows too big, they lock the door and say “Sorry, try again next year.” Much better!
I am a firm believer in playing my best with the hand I’m dealt, but that only works when there are 52 cards to be dealt. Add “just a few more,” and the rules are changed, and it becomes a different game.
The world is a mess, but each of us can, at least, create order in our own homes, and creativity out of chaos, if we work at it. It takes a lot of hard work, I hope y’all realize.
Life is good. Dig it.
And when life isn’t good, dig it anyway. If you keep digging, you’ll strike gold eventually.
Oh, and bring a pencil to class on test day. Them nasty professors will show you no mercy; they can’t, because they have no hearts. Nope.
They have no heart, and they never fart. That’s why they’re so mean all the time.
And now you know.