Thursday, December 02, 2010

Final Exams and Cutting Line

My first round of finals starts today and will run through the middle of next week. I hope to have final grades turned in no later than the 11th. I then have two articles that I’ve agreed to finish between the 11th and January 3rd. That shouldn’t be too difficult but it will certainly take time away from blogging. These are for a reference work on graphic novels and my articles will deal with two such works, Bloodstar, based on a Robert E. Howard story, and A. D. New Orleans After the Deluge, which is about Hurricane Katrina. The upshot is that I won’t be around the blogosphere as much as usual for a while, although I’m not abandoning it, of course.

Speaking of finals, I have to relate an experience I had yesterday. I generally eat at the school lunch room and it isn’t unusual for there to be some standing in line involved. I frequently get irritated at the students who cut in line in front of others. I sometimes say something and at other times don’t, depending on how far from the cut I am. Yesterday, I’d been standing in line for quite a while and was finally only two people back from being served when a student in one of my classes cut in front of me. I was somewhat taken aback but did mutter in a loud voice, “Oh come on.” The student did not make eye contact, and in fact I’m pretty sure she never even noticed I was there. I’ve realized through other dealings with the student that she is extremely self-centered and seldom notices anyone unless they can do something for her at that moment.

This student will certainly get the grade she earns in my class, but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen her take short cuts and be inconsiderate of others. Although I doubt she will ask me for a letter of recommendation, if she did I would have to say no. It’s certainly not just the frequent cutting in line and inconsideration, but includes cutting corners in classes she’s had with me that makes me feel this way. Yesterday too, for example, she came to my morning class about five minutes late, (early for her), and after bumbling around disrupting the class while she got settled, she asked me a question I had actually been covering in the moments when she was trying to get to her seat. The look on her face when she asked the question seemed clearly to indicate that I was confusing her with my unclear presentation on the topic. Although I answered her politely, I must admit to a touch of irritation. And I thought to myself that there’s no way I’d feel comfortable recommending her for graduate school where she might eventually become responsible for other people’s welfare. Maturity and empathy for others counts.

And now for some happier thoughts, I’m putting up the links below to some books I’m hoping a certain loved one of mine will buy new for me for Christmas. She knows who she is and would never cut in line in front of me. :)






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38 comments:

laughingwolf said...

i'm in full agreement, without maturity, compassion and empathy, she has no business in the social sciences field... would not even make it as parking meter enforcement officer, in my book! GRRRRRRRRRRR

nice list of tbr books...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You've more patience than I! My responses would not have been so kind.

Ron Scheer said...

Reminds me of an encounter I had on the bus one day. A passenger behind me started talking loudly on a cell phone. When I turned and suggested she lower her voice, she said to me, "This is a public place and I can do what I want." I still take out that bit of logic once in a while and ponder it...sounds like your student belongs to the same club.

Good luck with all you have to do. Don't be a stranger.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Good to hear you'll be keeping busy with some interesting articles.

Is the REH graphic novel recent? I haven't seen that one yet.

David Cranmer said...

Alex's thoughts are mine too. You have a heap load of patience. Shit like that forces me to say something and that, of course, just makes it worse.

Chris Phillips said...

I'd cut right in front of you, but I'd make eye contact back when you said oh come on and reply, "Forget you and your social mores and folkways! I'm free, buddy!" Then I'd use a credit card to buy my lunch.

Good luck on the articles. A.D. New Orleans sounds interesting.

Deka Black said...

Hope the works allows you some relief in the end of the day. I had a professor as neighbour years ago and i remeber her complainng about staying working too late due to exams.

The Golden Eagle said...

You do have patience; when people are rude around me I usually don't say anything to them even if they ask me something, or I snap at them.

Angie said...

You really have to wonder why someone with that little consideration for or even awareness of others would want to go into a profession based on helping other people. Unless she's planning to take it elsewhere -- don't some lawyers start out as psych majors?

The cafeteria at my high school had a huge cutting problem. I'm 5'11" and back then I was muscular rather than fat. Whenever someone shoved in front of me, I shoved back twice as hard, even if it was some guy who was significantly bigger than me. Most of the students were smaller than I was, especially the girls, and were too intimidated to protest. Which, of course, just encouraged the scumbags to keep acting like scumbags. I figured somebody had to protest for all the people who couldn't, or were afraid to. :/

Angie

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, and when such folks hope to be "counselors!" I shudder.

Alex, I've acquired patience over the years, though it wears thin this time of year.

Ron, yes, her attitude expresses exactly the opposite of what she should really be thinking.

Don, it's Bloodstar, which is often considered the very first graphic novel. Published almost 30 years ago now. It's based on the story "Valley of the Worm."

David Cranmer, I've found that to be the case too often. It just escalates the situation and is seldom worth it.

Chris, somehow I don't quite believe you. :)

Deka, this time of the year gets pretty heavy, although after the tests I'll have some time off.

Golden Eagle, that's part of my problem. I stew about things too much rather than either saying something right away or just letting it go.

Angie, my problem is in part the power differential. As a faculty member I can say things at times but of course any physical actions would be absolutely unforgivable. And also, most of my students are females, about 70 percent or a little more.

Angie said...

Charles -- oh, sure, you couldn't have done much more than you did. As a student, though, and especially as a student who was big enough to have some confidence but smaller than most of the larger males who thought they didn't have to stand in line because they were large, I was free to go for it. Grrr! :)

Angie

ArtSparker said...

Sometimes it seems as a lot of people exist in something like a light coma- able to perform basic tasks, but pretty oblivious.

Steve Malley said...

I may have a few issues with Kiwi culture, but you would NEVER see that sort of thing here!

Deka Black said...

Little time off. How many people.. anyway,when it comes, enjoy it ;)

Travis Cody said...

Good luck with finals, and with your writing projects.

I wanted to say thanks again for the CS Harris recommendation. I thoroughly enjoyed the St Cyr novels. My Lady is reading through them now. There's another one due in March I think. Can't wait for that.

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, I tell you, I'd like to see some of that. It would be cool.

ArtSparker, I agree. I see it quite a lot I believe.

Steve Malley, there are certain parts of the states where you wouldn't see that either. Like my home town in Arkansas. but too many other places are just full of idiots like this.

Deka Black, will do!

Travis Cody, cool. Glad you enjoyed. I really like the series and am looking forward to the new one. Ms. harris is actually in my writing group so I get sneak previews ahead of time!

Cloudia said...

A wise post
that the subject
might not "get'
for decades
if ever.

Sigh.

There go I. . . if only I'd known then...

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

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Carole said...

Hopefully you will have good finals, good articles, and a fun rest from the blogosphere.

You have to wonder if parents videotaping their children from day one lends these kids to believe the universe revolves around them. I have noticed this trend in people 30and younger with a larger frequency than those a bit older.

Evan Lewis said...

I remember "Bloodstar," and have it here somewhere. Richard Corben, right?

Lana Gramlich said...

Welcome to the 21st Century, where such things as "common courtesy" are soooooooooo yesterday's news.
:(

sage said...

I was once on a board with a woman that was always 15-30 minutes late. She would then insist on rehashing what had ben done. We were all "adults" and well educated. The President finally had enough and following rules of order forced a "vote to reconsider" and no one wanted to and she was shocked. I normally don't like using Robert's Rules for small groups, but it taught her a lesson! I know what you mean about not having time for blogging!

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, let’s hope they’ll eventually get it. For the rest of our sakes if not for theirs


Carole, maybe. I hadn’t really thought of that. Good possibility, though.

Evan Lewis, yep. Corben. It expands a bit around the edges of the story, “Valley of the Worm.”

Lana Gramlich, yeah, everyone’s a reality TV star it seems. Even those who are just living in the day to day world.


sage, the incredible selfishness of some folks. Just never ceases to amaze.

ivan said...

Snooki sez I'm too pretty to stand in line.

jodi said...

Charles, Rude behaviour never helps a person progress at the rate of polite behaviour. And what goes around comes around!

Charles Gramlich said...

Ivan, Snooki is incorrect in this case, although I'm sure she's right more often than not. :)

Jodi, yes, it almost certainly does, and I get a Karmic kick out of it when it does.

Donnetta Lee said...

I know the type, Charles. I have no patience with this type either. She gets no good recommendation. That's fair. D

PS I'll bet you get those books under the Christmas tree from a certain "elf..."

Charles Gramlich said...

Donnetta, the elf is already at work on it, I'm told by a reindeer.

benjibopper said...

I have a feeling you are a very patient man, more patient than most.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hey Charles, welcome to my world. All my students are self-centered and when you say something, they want to open a can of whup-ass. Still, I point out the errors of their ways and have yet to be decked (19 years; knock on wood). Also, I agree with you regarding not doing a letter of recommendation; I'd never consider the inconsiderate.

Harry Markov said...

If I were you, I'd give her the scare of her life, threatening to jeopardize her grade, but only just bluff the hell out of her.

THAT or I'd go for a head shot from a tennis ball throwing machine.

Charles Gramlich said...

benjibopper, I definitely don't think of myself that way but I probably do have a certain amount of patience. Or maybe I'm just beaten down.

JR, you have to draw the line somewhere, I imagine. And I imagine you certainly see more of it than I do. Most of my students aren't that way, or at least not too much.

Harry Markov, I planned on a pretty good glare taht day if she'd ever made eye contact. But she managed to escape that one. If only I'd had a taser.

Harry Markov said...

Oh, dude, a taser would have been a brilliant solution. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Harry, I've got to get one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am stunned how often a student will push by me to get on the elevator. Or to get off. And I get ever more annoyed when my husband does this!

Charles Gramlich said...

Patty, I find myself having to step off the sidewalk for students all the time. They're striding along, swinging limbs around and totally oblivious to anyone around them.

Erik Donald France said...

Unless there's a very good reason for it, line cutting irritates me, as well. As does abusing public space with loud jabbering on cell phones and all.

Golden Rule.

Erik Donald France said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, the only reason I can imagine for it is if someone has to get to a class very quickly. However, I see this student cutting pretty much every day so I'm sure it's not that.