Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Classroom fantasies

I'm spending the next few days marking assignments. Yuck! As a student I thought being an instructor would be one of the easiest jobs I could think of. After all, they didn't have to do the assignments they gave us. But now that I am an instructor, I discovered it is very challenging. It's not difficult - it just requires a lot of time. First of all, it takes days to go through each assignment, is boring, you tend to see the same stuff all the time and have to sit in one place with your full attention. It involves no creativity and the worst thing - I don't learn anything new.

But the thing I've come to like least are the students. In my field, the students are very intelligent and high-maintenance. They demand my constant attention, e-mail me with stupid questions, are very nice and polite to my face but when they get to do an evaluation at the end of the class often write rude things.

True, it is only a small percentage of them, but it hurts when I put in so much time and effort.

When I was a student, I didn't expect the instructor or professor to hand-feed me information. I wasn't constantly at their office getting feedback on my work. I realized that it was up to me to learn, study, research, read their assignment instructions closely, do my best and get it done. I loved university and learning and found it very stimulating and fun. I can't remember not liking a teacher (okay, maybe a couple) and tended to always get along with them very well. I also made a decision at university not to do my classes to get the highest marks - instead my focus was on learning. But this group that I teach are very grade motivated. They often ask for one or two points more on the exams and assignments, which often ends up being less than 1% total different in their final grade.

I once lectured my students on "focussing on learning, rather than trying to get a great mark," and several of the students went and complained to the department head. The department head told me that, "We encourage our students to be grade-oriented, because it's what motivates them to do well." I don't get this method of learning - and I ended up with a GPA of 3.9 out of 4, and won several scholarships and awards.

There's always a couple of shit raisers in my classes, and I intentionally give them higher marks than they deserve, just to shut them up.

I decided I had enough of teaching at this institution and I sent a note to the department head telling her I wasn't returning next year. I've been there for five years, and the students seem to get more difficult each year. It's taken the joy out of it for me, so I'll apply somewhere else for next year.

Anyway, enough of that *rant.* Just needed to get it out of my system. Onto the good stuff...

On the rare occasion I've had a couple of students I've had major crushes on. In my last class, I had this incredibly handsome guy, who I'll call Troy. He's about 30ish, 5'11", wears one of those black hats like Eminen and lots of cool black clothing, and when I got a look at his big hands I saw a couple of rings, fortunately none of which were wedding rings. One of them around his thumb that looks like a chain (I've been looking for one of these for myself since then). He has these gorgeous eyes that look right into you. He exudes an animal sexuality. I immediately made a mental note to not look at him while lecturing. I'd lose my train of thought or perhaps end up looking at him too much.

At one of the breaks, I ended up talking with him, and found out he plans to move to NY and make it big there.

He didn't seem overly bright until I marked his first assignment. I kept checking to make sure it was his. It was the best assignment I'd ever received in 5 years. It was so methodically researched, well written, with references, and in-depth it blew me away. He must have worked hours on this paper. I gave him the first 100% I'd ever given. Even sexier, his paper had to do with body building. And it wasn't just because I found him hot. This put a whole different perspective on him for me. Now I found him not only gorgeous, but sharp as a whip. I started to notice his intensity, the way he'd look at me when I made a point he found particularly insightful. I found myself fantasizing about him and admiring him. When he e-mailed me, I did a google search on his name and e-mail address to see if there were any references to him on the web.

Have you ever done this? It's amazing what you'll find about people. But absolutely nothing came up. I wondered where he lived, so went to the Nothing came up for Troy. He remained impermeable, a mystery.

I found it difficult to go near him, in case my desire was obvious. I had to stop myself from looking at his butt when he got up, or admiring his forearms. I actually got jerky around him. I noticed he maintained a respectful distance from me as well - maybe he sensed my attraction?

For his second assignment he handed in a Zip disk. When I was looking for his files, I saw a bunch of Excel files, and opened them up, wondering what they were. It appeared to be a calculation chart for investments. He tracks his family's investments - tens of thousands of dollars. Now he's rich too. Anyway, when he handed in his last assignment I finally got to find out where he lives, because he put his mailing address on the assignment. He lives in White Rock, a beautiful city an hour and a half away from Vancouver. So that's why I never found information about him.

He told me he missed the second to last class because, "Me and about 7 buddies rented a cabin out on Pender Island for the weekend, to celebrate his best friend's birthday." I immediately imagined all these guys together for a weekend, and wondered what their sleeping arrangements were, and imagined myself there... This fantasy flashed through my mind in about two seconds. He must have saw my thoughts in my eyes because then he clarified for me, "It was a large cabin with about 15 beds." My fantasy was quashed. I saw him drive off in a big black Yukon 4x4. Wow, whadda a guy. Maybe I ought to date someone intelligent for a change...

I once asked a fellow instructor if there were any rules around have sex with students. And believe it or not, there aren't! One year I actually had the opportunity. There was a handsome older guy in my class, who was clearly gay. Once he had graduated, I was out at one of the clubs and saw him out. He invited me back to his place with his boyfriend to have sex, but although I was tempted, it just seemed too weird. But as far as I know, he's been the only gay guy I've had in class. Well, there's always next term...

I've done enough procrastinating for today. Back to the books, and the gym.

PS: Thanks for the link and sweet comments, addaboy. You've got a place to stay if you ever visit Vancouver.

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