Thursday, November 29, 2007

What Everyone Calls The Real World

The other day a student dozed in my class as if he were on an airplane, head back, eyes closed, drool slipping out of the side of his mouth. Back in my younger days, I would have kicked him or hit his desk or said wake up and get out, but now I don't care at all and let him sleep until he woke himself up by slipping out of his desk and falling on his pile of books much to the laughter of his fellow classmates. Punished by the sin instead of for, just as God intends, and he asked a few questions, all of which had just been answered while he dreamt of God knows what. I said, Skippy (not his real name), You were in sleepytime when I addressed that which is why everyone is laughing. But I don't blame you -- I'm bored by myself too. I'd sleep through me as well. He got visibly angry, a strange reaction since I thought my response was fairly self-deprecating and true. I've been teaching long enough to know that I'm not God's gift. At best I'm a white elephant present that's been passed around the party a few beats too long.

Sometimes I'd like to divorce myself or at least get a temporary restraining order. I've been doing the same thing long enough to feel like a stripper on her last shift at the Bada Bing, twirling around the same pole, asking the same questions to the same audience. Did I miss anything? No, we sat around and braided each other's hair. Etc. There's only so much you can say. But lest you think I don't love my students, that's not the case. I adore them. What I hate is myself, playing in a role less engaging and longer running than Cats. Someone, not a teacher, told me the other day that I should love my job, that I was shaping the future. This self-righteous asshole got my death stare. I used to use it in class when I wanted to bring in order, but now I find it's better suited for my own purposes in what everyone calls the real world. But when you find yourself in a classroom with all the pain and sadness teaching writing brings in both you and your students, it doesn't get much realer than that.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"When I'm in Europe, I'd rather be in New York and when I'm in New York, I'd rather be in Europe. I'm never happy where I am." Woody Allen

Cocktail Hour
Drinking scotch suggestion: Oban

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Congratulations to my Pistons for trouncing Cleveland last night at the Palace! And a special hello to my lovely friend Nina!


LeBron James said...

Pain and sadness. Pain and sadness.

Silivio Dante said...

Didn't I interview you for a position at the Bada Bing? I've been in a coma for a long time so I don't rememeber. Did I ask to see your tits? For some reason, I'm hearing all these Springsteen tunes. Have a good one, and Happy Holidays!!!

Dante said...

He's no Virgil.

Virgil Trucks said...

I had one of the greatest games and greatest names in Detroit baseball history!!!

Mr. Natural said...

Keep on truckin'!!!

Virgil Trucks said...

My nephew Butch Trucks is a founding member of The Allman Brothers band.

Ford Motor Co. said...

F-150. A man's truck.

the walking man said...

Anytime you'd like me to come to your class and bore them in your place, just let me know. I do so love that deer in the headlights look when you ask them to read.



Charles Gramlich said...

I see we don't feel the same way about students. I rather delight in telling them that they missed the answer to their question because they came in late. I do realize that I'm probably not as good a teacher now as I used to be.

Scott said...

Well, shockingly enough you have lured me out of my lurker comfort zone with this post. I think you are too hard on yourself. I took Creative Writing at MCC about 7 or 8 years ago (not sure exactly as I tend to remember events without remembering dates, but I’m sure it was pre- 9/11). I enjoyed the class and appreciated how you made the idea of having work published feasible. You were generous with the people whose enthusiasm outweighed their composition skills or writing ability, and you were sensitive to the few people in class with the courage not only to write about painful personal subjects but also to read that work out loud in class.
Of course, everything gets repetitive at times, that said, I remember enough of you and the class to know that you were not boring then and your blogging illustrates that you are not boring now.
You might be bored, but I think you will not be boring for a long time, if ever. Cut yourself some slack.

Tim said...

Hey Michelle,
If you're getting bored and thinking of making a career move I say make a plan then go for it. You're young enough to do about anything you'd want, and your educational background is a major plus in most fields.
Good luck in whatever you decide.
Take care!

eric1313 said...

Why would you quit Macomb? You work with some really creative and thoughtful people.

But what do I know? Just another self-righteous asshole piping up with a rinky-dink no-brainer comment; don't mind me.

All kidding aside, I wish you the best wherever life leads you next.

Take care and god bless you.

robthefob said...


thank you for capturing in words what no theologian or spiritual writer i have ever read has been able to: "Punished by the sin instead of for, as God intends." thank you for being a healer as well as a teacher.

Emperor Ropi said...

I can't sleep at school. I don't know why. I can explain why I can't sleep on CHemistry. The fear makes me awake.