My Mean Face

Yeah…I don’t so much have one.

Yes, I can’t rant and rave to friends and family about anything. I can talk all big a bad, but I’m not typically mean.

This sometimes causes problems for me in teaching.

I am easily intimidated. Always have been. I care what people think about me. And not in a “I hope she likes my shoes!” way, but I don’t want people to get the wrong impression of me. I want to be friends. I know I won’t be friends with everyone, but if there is an issue, I like for it to be a real one, and not imagined.

Unfortunately, I’ve been a little too nice so far this semester. If a student said they couldn’t print, I would let them e-mail it to me. If they had an unexcused absence, I would still accept their homework.

I was being nice.

However, this lead to me being responsible to print the assignments so I could comment then pass them back. Students were turning in assignments 3 and 4 days late, but because I had been accepting late homework, I would lose track as to when the original due date was. It was causing me some clerical nightmares.

So today, I had to put on my mean face. Or at least “I’m Serious” face. I made it clear that I wasn’t picking on anyone or mad at anyone, but that I couldn’t continue to do these things.

They seemed to understand and we moved on.

Except today I passed back their first units.

I explained that I won’t answer any questions for 24 hours about papers, for obvious reasons. They get all riled up if they don’t like a grade and they need the 24 hours to cool off and maybe realize that they didn’t do the work. Now, I might have made a mistake. I’m not above that- but at least after 24 hours, they will be calmer when they approach me about it. Then I will fix it and we will go from there.

It worked out wonderfully last semester, so I expected the same.

I guess a lot of their instructors for 101 didn’t do this, and they were not too thrilled and tried to make me answer questions. Also, I got this idea from our program director, so I know they won’t be able to complain about me when it comes to this.

But even better, about half of my first class stood outside the emergency exit door, didn’t realize that it was the exit door for our classroom, and started saying all sorts of things about me, without realizing that I could hear every word and knew who was talking.

Now, I am trying to remind myself that they were just mad about their grade, and it’s easy to rant in a group. I get that. I know I’ve done it.

But after everything that happened with my student from last semester, it’s a little difficult to not get really angry, really quickly.

Add to it that some of the stuff they were saying was just wrong. No other way to put it. They were 100% factually wrong.

I will not let this make me a jaded teacher. But you can bet my niceness is going to be much more limited in the future.

I need to work on the mean face I guess… Being nice sucks.

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4 Comments

Filed under A little More About Me, Confessions, Grad School?, Teaching in College

4 responses to “My Mean Face

  1. I’m sorry your students are ungrateful little shits. But I love the no-comments-for-24-hours policy: that’s brilliant.

    Perhaps you write on the board: “Please take care when speaking by the emergency exit door, so that you do not disturb the classes in session?”

    • I just might do that. And the 24 hours thing was GLORIOUS last semester. And even if they don’t like it now, it will make my life easier. I pass folders back at the end of class and they walk out the door. This also eliminates them glaring at me all class period.

  2. Ugh ugh ugh. I have the greatest respect for teachers because I did it for a short time and it was a NIGHTMARE. Why does every student believe that they DESERVE an A, even if they didn’t follow the assignment correctly, or looked up EVERY WORD in the thesaurus to sound “smart” (ie idiotic), or plagiarize??!?! So frustrating.

  3. Being mean does suck. I’m sorry they’re forcing you to do it.

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