Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Re-educating the huntress

Waterfowl season ended Sunday, and classes at my university began promptly on Monday. I washed and stored all my camo, then dusted off the nice clothes and prepared to re-enter civilization.

The transition, though, has not been easy.

Whenever I'm in my office on campus, I get bombarded by students. They way it usually works is that they are already saying what's on their mind as they walk in, never checking to see if anyone else is already talking to me. When it happened for the fourth or fifth time on Tuesday, I was in the middle of writing down a nine-digit code that a student was reading to me.

Without thinking, or saying a word, or even looking up, I shot out my hand with the universal shush signal - the imperious "talk to the hand." The student ricocheted out of there as I realized what I'd done.

When ducks are coming in and somebody starts chatting, the hand is an appropriate response. You certainly can't yell. But in the classroom? Incredibly rude. I never do that to my students.

"Excuse me," I said to the student with the nine-digit number, and I rushed out to explain and apologize to the interloper. She laughed when I told her. Whew. Fortunately, it entertains my kids endlessly that I'm a duck hunter. They indulge me.

© Holly A. Heyser 2008


Anonymous said...

That's funny. Guess you need to reacclimate a bit.

NorCal Cazadora said...

On the bright side, it was rainy and unusually cold yesterday, and every time I walked outside I was thankful that I wasn't standing hip deep in cold water with frozen fingers and a wet gun. In fact, I found it incredibly hard to believe that I was doing just that a week ago.

Phillip said...

Ahh.. the inevitable transition from wild life to the urbane.

As far as being rude...that's a tough one for me, and maybe one reason that I haven't gone back to pursue my teaching career. Kids seem to be so short on manners and respect these days (have I become my grandfather?) that it's pretty tough to remember to maintain my own decorum.

Kudos to you for remembering, and for offering your apology to the interloper.

Blessed said...

That is too funny - and probably a similar to what I would do... guess it's a good thing I'm a graphic designer and not a teacher!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Thanks! And fortunately, Phillip, I adore my students. I advise the campus newspaper, which is more like a workspace than a classroom, and they're all just very young versions of the people I've worked with all my life.

As is probably the case with most people, most of the time they don't mean to be rude - they just don't think about what they're doing before they do it. Just like I didn't think about showing that young woman the hand!

The Hunter's Wife said...

That is funny. I have several friends that are teachers. One even admitted to yelling in class and thought if her daughers teacher did that she would have to complain. :) Her class is full of 7th graders.

Albert A Rasch said...

Well Miss Crabtree,

Maybe I'm old school, but if a professor put up her hand because I was being rude, I would slap my jaw shut, stand stock still, and await whatever doom would befall me.

I suppose times are changing, when walking through a door, even if open, without knocking is considered acceptable.

My parents still think I should be a teacher. But I won't even contemplate it. I would be in handcuffs by the second hour on the first day!

Respectfully (as always),
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

NorCal Cazadora said...

And ya know what, Albert? I think your way of handling it would be absolutely fine. For you.

This is what I've finally learned after four-plus decades on the planet: There are many correct ways to handle situations, and it's very important to do things your own way. Every time I've tried to follow someone else's style (I'm thinking now of private-sector management), it's been an utter disaster.

My great discovery in now four semesters of teaching is that being respectful and tolerant of my students has not diminished my authority one bit - I think most of them have a great deal of respect for me. So, it works for me.

If anyone demanded that I teach with an iron fist, I'd have to quit and go make twice as much money in the private sector.

Hmmm.... Nah.

Albert A Rasch said...


Well said. Your wisdom and tact are evident. Now if I could only find it... where did I put it this time...

Your faithful student,