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Highs and Lows

May 18, 2012

Dear Reader,

It’s been a good few days, and it’s been a lousy few days, depending on when you catch me.  I’ve really enjoyed D3; for once, I have no complaints (yet) about the gameplay, other than from what I hear it’s basically exactly like D2 with a few more bells and whistles.  Well, I didn’t play D2, so that doesn’t bother me one bit.  I’m playing my monk, as I mentioned, and enjoying it quite a bit, but I’ve also started a Hardcore Witch Doctor.  The intensity of some of those fights is phenomenal, and the fact that you’re DEAD if you fail really adds to the enjoyment when you’re not.  The Jar of Souls event in hardcore mode – which I hadn’t seen in regular – was nightmarish, and to top it off, my partner DC’d midway through, leaving me alone with double-strong mobs for about 10 seconds before the game realized it.  When I finished, my heart was pounding, but I was alive and had a huge grin on my face.  That’s testament enough.

But even if it wasn’t, my buddy hasn’t been complaining, either.  And he does.  About everything.  He had six complaints about The Secret World before I even got to speak to him about it.  I can’t tell you them right now (and I disagreed with a majority of them anyway) due to the NDA, but it’ll go down eventually and I’ll fill you in.  At any rate, he’s already started at LEAST three characters (which he does in every game – one for himself, one to play with just me, and one to play with the larger group), and he’s not had anything bad to say about any of them EXCEPT the witch doctor.  His only complaint there was about its slow speed in murdering enemies compared to other classes in a group setting, which is why I chose it for Hardcore; if it’s bad in a group, it’s probably good alone.

So all that’s been good.

Then, there’s been exam week.  I swear to GOD I don’t know how many goddamn kids didn’t meet the basic requirements for their final paper.  Minimum five pages.  Minimum six sources.  I swear – not exaggerating here – half of them didn’t do one of those two things and probably 20% didn’t do both of them.  Now, to be fair, this is the “off cycle” freshman comp class, meaning that every student in this class already failed once or is a transfer (and it’s QUITE EASY to tell the difference), so these results are not standard for the entire institution.  Still, if I thought for a second I was Mr. Holland or Jamie Escalante (“It’s not personal.”  “Maybe, but if I see you in the street, I’m going to kick your ass.”), it’s been proven pretty clearly I’m not.  Or, perhaps this confirms what I’ve been feeling about teaching college versus 8th grade.  I haven’t liked it as much, haven’t felt as though I’ve been able to make as much of an impact, and I suspected it was because these kids are themselves now; there’s no real room for me to make an impression.  Probably, it’s a little of both.  Whatever the case, it’s been irritating me to no end.

I had one student email me the night before the exam and tell me “A C- sure would help my GPA.”  Then, he didn’t show up to the final exam at 8 a.m. the next morning.  Later in the day, I got an email from him saying, “I showed up at the regular class time (Noon).  I didn’t know the exam was earlier!”  I just don’t know what to say.  How do you get to the LAST day of exams without looking at your exam schedule?  Not to mention I probably said the exam date and time 10 times in class!  Also, his paper met neither requirement.

The common myth about middle school is nonsense.  Middle schoolers are easier to deal with than older kids, because they don’t know who they are yet.  If you can show them respect and earn their trust, then 95% of the time they’ll be great students, regardless.  The other 5%, well, you can chalk that up to them being kids, and if you’re understanding and don’t force confrontations about every little perceived slight – and trust me, the slights have NOTHING to do with you, but with things going on outside your classroom that happen to boil over – then you can really make an impression and, potentially, a difference.  I don’t think that’s true with college students.

Still, considering the fact that no public school in a 45 mile radius has any interest in hiring me, but the local community college did, says something about our education system.  Cheap is better than good.  Like fast food, but with learning.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and tired of reading half-assed papers)

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