Sunday, February 09, 2003

Kids Say The Darndest Things

On duty and on Darvocet last night and the night before; consequently, I've now spent a combined total of seven hours in the confines of the dormitory lounge on the verge of hallucination, playing foosball, watching Shawshank Redemption with a couple of kids, mostly staring into space in a mostly-empty room. Was it the combination of drugs and duty which led to the following very strange conversations? Maybe it's just me, but...

scenario one:
Student whose roommate withdrew from the school gets locked out of his room (happens three or four times a day around here) and apologizes for asking me to let him back in.

Me: Well, what would you do if you got locked out of your room at two in the morning?
Student: I don't have a roommate...
Me: Exactly. so you'd have to wake me up. (I live in-dorm, and have a master key)
Student: Wouldn't you be mad?

analysis: This is my job; how I feel about it at two in the morning isn't the point. What are you going to do, just curl up in a fetal position on the floor of your brightly lit hallway?

scenario two:
NMH's star point guard's been nuzzling on the lounge corner couch with some girl for the last hour; she just left.

Me: Hey, next time, you should use your visiting privleges.
Star Point Guard: What's that?
Me: You know, between seven and a quarter of an hour before dorm close on Fridays and Saturdays, you can invite a girl back to your room. You just have to clear it with me first, and leave the lights on and the door open.
SPG: (mad) Why couldn't you tell me about this last week?

analysis: Visiting hours, an opportunity for students in good standing to socialize on a slightly more intimate level without resorting to PDA (back when PDA meant necking in public, not Palm Pilot in geekspeak), started over a month ago. It's not my job to keep track of your opportunities for sexual experimentation, and I really don't think you'd want me to, either.

scenario three:
A girl comes by to pick up a video for a course she's teaching on Horror Film; she'd just come from the school's International Carnival, a well-attended yearly event where students from different countries make and then sell food from their homelands.

Girl: I was talking to David Wivell (the Director of International Education) and he said next year he was thinking of making it twice as educational.
Me: Yeah, like you could show the way food ingredients for each nationality's dish reflected the agriculture in that country, which in turn was a function of both culture and climate, and how the way foods were prepared and served in different countries reflected their values and their social structure.
Girl: Well, I was thinking we could write little bits of information on the bottom of their plates, like Snapple bottles.

analysis: 1. Snapple bottle one-liners are cute, but they're not really educational. Would you want me to teach you a class that was entirely based in volumes of trivial knowledge? 2. Reminds me of game we used to play in college. You'd ask some girl what it said on the bottom of her beer bottle, and then you'd clean up all the beer on the floor.


In general, it's probably not a good idea to say my brain is melting in half to students. I'm liable to end up on some list of Crazy Things My Teachers Said. Prep school kids are generally a little more savvy than the average than public school kids; most of the time, they're sharp as tacks, and they don't miss much. And a whole bunch of 'em got blogs.

But you'd never know it to look at their debates on our school bulletin board system, or to listen in on them as they pass in herds like buffalo in the hallways. I was the same way, I'm sure. Stupidity outbreaks are as endemic among adolescents as acne; they are equally unwanted, and, like acne, it's impossible to see one's own stupidity. Until it's too late.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:57 AM |

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