Why so sensitive?


I'm speaking about myself here.  I have a pair of students, friends, in my class this semester who are very immature and rude.  I know what to do about them (I'm going to talk to them individually,etc.), but I wonder why this bothers me more this semester? Is it burn-out? Or just that sometimes I really don't wantto deal with this?

It's making me self-conscious while teaching.

Is this common?

Naturally, when we're generally stressed, little things bother us more.  But also, some people are just vibrating at a frequency that is just so incredibly irritating.  I have trouble with this now and then.  Sometimes I can meditate through it with some imagery, like imagining them being enclosed in a bubble and floating away.  Other times I just get stabby.

I get annoyed from time to time as well. It gets on my nerves more when I teach intensive summer courses because I have to spend three to four hours a day with them.

I've had everything from the boyfriend and girlfriend nearly linking arms and being cutesy with one another to the snarky, eye-rolling pairs who exchange notes by writing in each other's notebook (and then snickering). It's all so obvious from my vantage point; the students don't understand this. They think we can't see (or maybe, probably, they don't give a flying fig).

When I get fed up with it, I simply cut myself off in mid-sentence and state calmly, coldly and generally, "Folks, let's pay attention here." That usually snaps them back to reality. Sometimes I knock on the desk (a technique used abroad and one that comes naturally to me) and say "Folks, screens down, attention up here." I'm not good at scolding people personally or confronting them after class. These techniques have worked well.

Good luck. I'm sorry things are tense.

Yes, a little bit of burnout, I think.  When I have students casually disregard basic decency in the classroom I always feel as if they are doing it to snub me in particular--but (a) they're usually not and (b) it does me no good to feel personally slighted.

The thing is, I do feel personally attacked--even assaulted--I'm not saying I am, just saying that I can't help feeling this way--when students in my class plagiarize.  I feel smacked.

In the short run, though, you do need to talk to this pair individually and then separate them as necessary.  They are being disruptive and damaging the educational opportunities afforded other students, etc.


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