Republican Student Uprising?

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Am I imagining this?

I teach an art appreciation course for non-majors (adjunct of course) at a Catholic university with a pretty sizable Republican population for such a blue state. We talked before the election about politics sometimes, mostly as a preamble to other issues, or to get them talking about something. The Republican students, before the election, actually impressed me as having much more developed reasoning and opinions than the Democratic majority, and I always respected their opinions even though I really disagreed with them.

Now, since the election happened, I am noticing that these Republican students, who before the election were tentative, thoughtful people, are becoming really aggressive jerks, attempting always to take up class time to talk politics when it's completely irrelevant/inappropriate, asking to get let out of class early (?), getting all sassy about the art they see in class, etc.

I have been handling this by ignoring them, steering the conversation back to the course material, etc. and it's all working okay, but I am curious. Is anyone else seeing this, or do I have a weird batch?

What does it mean to be "Republican"? That is what I would ask them. Are they "r" because of their families; have they considered their positions?

I would ask the 'd's' the same questions.

Try and get at why they hold these values and opinions, rather than just accept that they call themselves "Republicans."

(If they were of a certain age I would ask them are they an Olympia Snow or an Abe Lincoln Republican or a George Wallace Democrat too.)

E. F.:
Bringing up politics and religion in a course that is not centered on these topics is always risky. Sometimes you get great insights and sometimes, unfortunately, you discover future radio talk show hosts.

Since you gave the students the buttons to push and showed them how to push them, you can't complain that they now push your buttons. Your students probably view you as a poor loser and are having some "sassy" fun with it. Who knows? Since your side lost, the discussions may just seem more irritating than before.

You seem to be handling it well if the class is working okay.

This behavior is certainly not limited to Republicans. As you will remember, Republicans had to tolerate a degenerate Bill Clinton for 8 years and listen to Democrats gloat a bit when they ruled the roost.

Discussing politics in an art appreciation class lets students know that it is acceptable to discuss topics not relevant to the course material. Students may then feel that they are entitled to talk about anything. Given the current situation in your class, I would recommend that you stick to discussions on course topics in the future.

wondering to "BF":
I wonder though ... the 'art appreciation' policies of the current administration might be a question that could come up in art class.


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