I recall when I was a wee lass in Kindergarten or 1st grade and we ran into my Kindergarten teacher at the local Ernst. Or was it Earnst? I’m pretty sure these stores do not exist any more. In any case, we saw my teacher outside the classroom. And it was absolutely shocking. What on Earth was she doing there?
Until that moment, she had been a fixture of the classroom. As integral as the doors and windows, and, as far as my 5-year-old mind was concerned, as un-leaving. (we’re pretending that’s a word)
Obviously, I grew up and I know that teachers are people with lives outside the classroom. In fact, their time in the classroom may not even be what they consider the most important part of their life! Perhaps, shocking as it may be, they may value their own family before their classroom.
Some of my students…seem to have not yet learned this particular lesson. This is frustrating for me, and mind-boggling. May I remind you, my students are college students. So one could reasonably assume 18+ years old, and be right nearly all of the time.
Some of these young adults still seem to think that my entire existence is predicated upon serving them. My entire time and focus is on providing for them.
Let me be clear: It’s not.
I do put my family before my job. If I were ranking things. And I WILL take a lunch on days when I am starving, so there. Yes. I will close my door or leave campus and eat food. I have a lot of nerve.
My particular favorites though, are the students who simply cannot be bothered to come to class. They have things. LIVES, you know. Important things. So they would like to not come to class, but come to my office hours or make special appointments and ask for special favors or otherwise demand all kinds of special attentions.
I do not understand this line of thinking. One even said to me today, as he was trying to finagle a special appointment time because, GOSH, he just can’t make it to class today, that he knew I needed to eat lunch…but…
The words do not properly convey the tone. It was absolutely insinuated that I should forgo eating lunch to better accommodate his schedule. Because. Come on. Is food, reallllly that important?
And to be quite clear – he was asking for an appointment in the one hour (the ONLY hour) break I have on a particular day. It’s a rather long day. There’s a reason that particular hour has been left unscheduled. I need that hour to gather my brain and eat some food. And believe me, you want me to eat food.
Ask my kids. I get hangry yo. They know. When Mommy is acting a little cranky, feed her some food and back away slowly. They’re five and two. You’d think my college students could get with the program!
I will say – the attitude is the part that bothers me most. Because I have another student who had to miss a week of class and had to make a special appointment because she works 5 days a week, but you know what? She was very apologetic for her difficult schedule and told me “thank you” for my flexibility. Honestly, that’s all it takes. If you acknowledge I am a person too and my time is valuable too – and then make the request? I’ll probably go hungry that day. I’m a sucker like that.
But when you act like it’s my duty? That I somehow owe it to you, simply because you’re my student? When you act like your time is more valuable than my own?
Imma go eat my lunch.