Saturday, March 1, 2008

File This One Under "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING, STUDENT?"

After teaching my last class of the week on Thursday night, I went back to my office and started packing up my things. I also checked my e-mail one last time. I had a new message from one of my students. It was a reply to an e-mail I'd sent the day before that reminded my students to do some careful brainstorming over the weekend so they would come to class on Monday with topics to research during our library instruction day.

I wondered what a student had to say in reply to that straightforward e-mail, and so I popped it open. It was short--just one sentence long. It said:

how about we go out on a date and we can do all the brainstorming we need too.

There are many things I could say about this (nice grammar, buddy!), but I am confused and don't exactly know what to think about it.

First of all, the student didn't sign his name to this e-mail. Did he think I didn't know who he was? I have to hope that's not true, since at the beginning of the year I made a list of each student's e-mail address so I can input those addresses into a distribution list. All I had to do after I read this student's e-mail was open up that list, find that particular e-mail address, slide my finger on over to the name it corresponded to, and--poof!--there it was. His name. Not a very James Bond-worthy move on his part.

Maybe it was a joke. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe he didn't sign his name not because he was trying to be clever and anonymous but because most of my students these days compose half-assed e-mails that ignore all rules of good correspondence. Maybe his no-name sign-off was normal. I have no idea.

If he did not intend to be anonymous, I have to question this student's sanity. After all, it's not even mid-semester yet, and already he's hitting on his instructor. What did he think could happen? Did he think after class he'd saunter up to me, sling an arm around my waist, and march me out the door to dinner at Taco Bell? Did he think we could sit in the local coffee shop and work on his essay together? Did he think he could raise his hand during class and say, "Hey, sugar, come on over here and help me with this paragraph, okay?"

I swear there is something strange brewing in the water around here this semester. Something strange is falling through the air, coming down with the snow, blanketing itself over the town. This season has made everyone a little looser, a little more off-balance in their heads. I can't wait for sun, for green lawns, for the smell of ocean to knock everyone back to the way they used to be.

4 comments:

Casey Sween said...

Really. I can't handle it anymore. What is wrong with students these days?

Kristin said...

Dude I'm totally with you. What the hell is up with them? I'd love to swap stories with you sometime! Come back to Minne and let's shop for boots and drink!

Jason said...

It was probably the student-email version of a drunk-dial.

"My English teesher's hot."
"Callerdood."
"Dood."
"Dooit."
"Can't. She knows my voice. Sees it evryday."
"Then emailerdood."
"Kay."

And that's how it happened.

Jess said...

Kristin--

I watched an episode of What Not to Wear the other day, and it was set in the Mall of America, and I almost died because I wanted to be there so much. I need to shop. We should shop.

Jason--

You're probably right. I think he's half drunk when he comes to school anyway. Classy.