Wednesday, December 12, 2007

RBOC: Things that make me wanna go "Er. Um. No."

The following list of bullet points are paraphrases of things students of various levels -- undergrad to grad -- have said, asked, or told me about in the past two weeks. I offer them mostly without comment, although "Er. Um. No." serves as a fine blanket response to them all despite their very different characters.

  • I'm surprised your Chaucer class is an undergraduate class. Isn't Chaucer too advanced for undergrads?
  • I'm graduating next semester and I need a certain required course that's slightly related to the class you're teaching. Only I can't make that class because of other commitments. And I can't make yours, either. Can I sign up for yours and do the work on my own without having to come to class? And then will you sign off on my having completed the required course?
  • Hi, are you [insert mispronunciation of my first name]? I'm in Interdisciplinary Grad Program. I need to sign up for thesis credit. Please sign this form so I can enroll in English department thesis credits. [Long, painful interval follows in which Dr. Virago explains over and over that our thesis hours are for our students and I'm certain her program has its own, all while student interrupts again and again to insist that I'm wrong.] But I *am* one of your students -- my thesis is on [insert vaguely literature oriented topic]. [Another long interval of Dr. Virago explaining what a degree program is and how interdisciplinary programs draw on faculty from other departments, but have different degree programs of their own.] But my advisor said I could sign up for hours in any department I wanted!
  • I missed the workshop you did the other week, but do you have any handouts on a totally unrelated topic that I could have?
  • I know the assignment for our research methods final paper was a critical history of one of the texts on the exam list, but I was wondering, could I just write about how I think one of the most prominent critic approaches to this text is completely wrong?
  • My high school teacher said that she wasn't going to teach Beowulf, even though it was in the textbook, because we wouldn't need it, since no one reads it in college, not even English majors, except for a few who are going to grad school in English. Can you believe that?
  • Is 7 pages long enough for a critical history of the last 30 years of scholarship on a major text?
  • I just realized our final is on Friday of finals week. I was hoping to leave for home on Thursday. Can I reschedule?
Move over Cranky Professor, because I may joining your cranky ranks! I am so glad the semester is almost over. Two more days to go and then the grading commences . Then after that I can refuel for the onslaught of next semester which begins a cruel three and half weeks from now.

4 comments:

Karl Steel said...

Hi, are you [insert mispronunciation of my first name]?

Huh. How on earth could they mispronounce Abinadab?

Raise your (grading hand) if you've granted more than six extensions in the last two days.

Dr. Virago said...

Abinadab? Dude, you just made me into an Old Testament patriarch. Awesome -- do I get OT Patriarch super powers, too?

Anywho, seriously, my formal first name ends with an -a. But a variant of it ends with -e. Lots of people call me the -e version, which drives me batty. First of all, it suggests they don't know how to read -- or else they learned "whole word" style instead of phonics. Second, you can't get my nickname without the -a, so I feel like it robs me of something. So, any time someone calls me by the -e version, I tend to assume the person is either a sloppy flibberty-gibbet, or a person who doesn't know me and doesn't care to know me, or both. I'm usually right.

Oh, and the other thing I hate? people who call me by the first half of my name. I refuse to answer to it.

Fast Fizzy said...

Can I have an extension on the buying of your Christmas present? It's COLD outside and my dog ate my credit card!

Dr. Virago said...

Fizzy -- First of all, you don't have a dog. Second, there's always these here interweb thingies. That's where I bought your pressies. And gift certificates/cards are always appreciated if you don't know what to get. Just think literature professor who runs and you'll think of good stores.