Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Welcome Back

Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of the spring semester, but a snowstorm buried parts of Maine in over a foot of snow, and we got a snow day. So, today was our first real day.

I only have one class on Tuesdays--a half-semester class that meets six hours a week--so I didn't think I was going to have any stories to tell after I dismissed them from the first class. It seemed simple enough: hand out the syllabus, go over the syllabus, introduce them to the core concepts of the course, familiarize them with our online learning platform, wave goodbye.

I should've known better.

This particular half-semester class is an all-male class. The guys all know each other because they're in all the same classes, the same program, the same degree track. They're real guys' guys--snarky and opinionated, full of swagger and cockiness.

I should've known they'd push it a little.

When I was introducing them to the functions of our online learning platform, I asked them to log in to the chatroom so they could see how it worked and what it was capable of. Just for kicks.

"Say hi or something," I told them. "Test it out. See how it works."

I was projecting the chatroom onto the large screen at the front of the room, and when I turned around to see how it was going, if they were getting it, what they were saying, that's when I saw that one of them had written FAGS! and broadcast it for everyone to see.

"Are you kidding me?" I said.

The whole class laughed.

I sighed. "No," I said. "Really. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"

And then I had to tell them--a pack of nineteen, twenty, and twenty-one year-olds--that it was not appropriate to write FAGS! in the class chatroom, that that type of language isn't something that belongs in a place of learning, that that type of behavior would not be tolerated in my classroom and should not be tolerated in their own lives.

I really had to tell them that. I really, really did.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Well, that was insensitive of you. What if he suffers from a rare form of Tourette's syndrome that causes him to suddenly type inappropriate language?

More seriously--good luck with that class. Looks like your biggest challenge there won't be academic.