October 28, 2007
Since I’ve been teaching, I tend to measure my life in semesters. I remember the first time I ever taught a speech class (Fall 01); the semester I got married (Spring 02); the semester my mentor Ed Rocks passed away (Spring 05); the semester I went to NY, the first time Terrence played at Yoshi’s, and my first semester at Laney College (Spring 07); and the semester suicide affected me (Fall 07), and this semester.
This semester is truly a trying one. Besides the fact that I have eight jobs (yes 8) and part of that is teaching six communication classes on four different campuses, which requires me to drive way too much, I’ve been called an ‘ass’ by one of my students (I’m so over that), lost one of my students to suicide, have been confided in by some of my students, and here’s the one that feels like torture: my ‘niceness’ (or is it just my stupidity?) being taken advantage of by a student.
I really would bend over backwards, give the shirt off my back, give away my last dime, if someone asked me to, especially a student. Why, you ask? Well, when I was a student, I had a few teachers who did that for me. When I actually communicated with them that I was going through a difficult time, they understood and were willing to work with me. I kept in contact with them and gave them updates, and went to them when I had questions or needed another extension. But I guess the difference is I actually meant what I said when I said I would complete the assignments on which they gave me the extension. I know I can’t hold others to my way of being — that’s not fair, but it is fair that others don’t keep their end of the bargain???
I don’t mind helping people, I love doing that! But when I help and help, and give extension after extension, and try to match others with mentors (who may be able to relate to the student better) and still get NOTHING in return, well, I have to draw the line somewhere – but when and where? It’s not fair to me, to the student, and to the rest of my students who have finished on time. So, back to drawing to the line… well, I think it’s time NOW. My husband says I’m way too nice, my friends say I’m a pushover, I say I just want to give someone a chance like I was given.
This is so frustrating… I want my students to pass successfully by taking control of their education! (Gosh, how many times have I written that??? How many more times will I write that exact statement? Will I continue to write it as long as I’m a teacher?) ARGH!!!
So, this week is it – I’m done playing nice. I’m going to face up to the fact that a student took advantage of my willingness to help – to give them a second chance. Fool me once, shame on you – fool me twice, shame on me.