A few weeks ago, I went a bar to listen to an 80s band on a Sunday afternoon-yes, a Sunday afternoon. My posse was the oldest one in the place and we knew all the music, but so did the youngsters. I wondered, “When did they take over 80s music and why did they start getting crushed while listening to it on a Sunday afternoon? Isn’t Sunday a day for rest? Shouldn’t you be recovering from last night and thinking about work tomorrow? Is there work tomorrow?” I also saw a lot of things I’m still trying to forget, but I was particularly struck by how the college age whippersnappers knew all the words to the music. “Hey, that’s our music,” I thought, “We sang it first.” But then I realized that something about the music spoke to them as they gyrated and twerked on the dance floor-neither of which were done in the 80s. It, and I mean the knowing the words part not the gyrating and twerking part, got me thinking. Maybe they would know all the right words in my class if I talked in 80s music. It would go like this.
- While everybody wants to rule the world, the course policies in the syllabus, which I spent years refining, rule this world. The rules were written for everyone, including you, and you, and you, and you. There are no exceptions because if I make one, the grade appeal filed by one of your classmates will not go well for me. Remember, there will be tears for fears at the end of the semester if you try to make your own rules. It is not your time to rule this world.
- You might have been out for a Dexys Midnight Runner or two last night, but come on Eileen, that long, detailed email that you sent splaining how grandma got run over by a reindeer during finals week in December is not gonna help you. The more detail you write, the less I believe your story. What person in crisis takes time to craft their best written work of the semester and send it to the teacher a few minutes after a major assignment deadline has passed? Only someone who had too many Runners last night and didn’t feel up to doing the work. Remember, if you’re hungover and an assignment is due, write a short message and leave grandma out of it-I am less likely to think you are lying.
- Yes, I know, you want an ‘A’ in the course because you want to go to grad school rather than get a job, but like Jon said, “It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not. We’ve got each other and that’s a lot”-well for me, anyway. If you think I’m going to create an extra credit opportunity well, “Whoa, you’re livin’ on a prayer.” Everyone has the same chance to earn all the points. If you didn’t do it, you didn’t do it, and you’re not gonna do it in the last days of the course. Consider it a life lesson. If you step off the curb into traffic, you don’t get a redo. You’re done. In class, you’re done trying when Jon finally stops singing and actually, I hope that happens soon. Remember, if you want an ‘A’, earn an ‘A’, and without bonus points or redo’s.
So there you have it. My plan for talking 80s to the college age whippersnappers who enter my classroom. I think I might even take a karaoke machine into class, just so they get the full effect, learn all the right words, and can speak-a my language-just like the man from down under. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!