On second thought

Saturday, April 16, 2011

So one of my last posts was singing the praises of the community college experience. These first two weeks of spring quarter have made me consider a drastic change in my opinion. What a difference an instructor, a subject and some classmates can make. After coming off the high of a 4.0, a job offer to be a writing tutor on campus (which didn't pan out after all) and my cup full of new knowledge, I must say I am reserving judgment this time around.

If I choose to be "Pollyanna" I would simply say that a lot of it has to do with the fact that: 1.) I am taking courses which are considered humanities requirements that most students are simply trying to endure for 12 weeks; 2.) One of my classes is taught from 5-7:30 in the evening, two nights a week, in a classroom with no windows; 3.) I am the oldest person in both classes so the age diversity I loved last time around doesn't exist; and 4.) I can't expect every single quarter to be stellar.

On the other hand, the more jaded and realistic side of my personality is just plain bummed out. When my instructor assigns reading with no shortage of "f-bombs" and crude dialogue, it's hard for me to jump on board. When the classmate seated behind me tells the teacher if she calls her by a nickname that many others use for her given name, "she will want to throw something at her", I want to find another seat. When the instructor asks a student his opinion of the assignment and he replies "I didn't read it. I forgot." I want to ask, "why are you here?" When I watch the young men and women around me with sadness in their faces and a faraway look in their eyes, it makes me realize how disconnected our culture is from relationship and over connected to laptops and smart phones.

I know I can't change any of what has happened so far and that my hopes might be considered antiquated by today's generation but I still believe it can exist. It makes me all the more determined to foster a classroom community where no one feels like I do. I'll just have to wait 2 more years to do it. In the meantime I will plug along, keep a smile on my face and a bar of soap in my pocket (just kidding).