This week I’m having the Monday-Wednesday 7:30 a.m. students meet with me one-on-one, briefly, to discuss any issues they may be having with their 2500-word research papers. There’s a pair who sit in the back row, talking and texting through most classes. The brighter of the two — let’s call her Ms. Paresseuse* — showed up late and so missed the sign-up sheet when it went around. Her pal, Mr. Perdant*, cut altogether. So after class she barged up, cutting off Mr. Workingman, who also arrived a few minutes late (but much sooner than she did), grabbed the sign-up sheet, and called Perdant on her cell.
After he woke up enough to understand what she was saying — i.e., you need to select a ten-minute slot to talk with the teeeeecher — he staked out ten minutes on Wednesday. She signed herself up for 7:30 on Monday. Mr. Workingman looked a little disgusted but managed to get himself a space on Monday.
As I was getting stuff ready for class this evening, what should I discover but that Ms. Paresseuse snabbed the very time slot that the first person to sign up had claimed. That is, she didn’t bother to read the times other classmates had taken!
Mr. Workingman must have been quietly gratified when he saw that she’d shot herself in the foot, after she practically shoved him aside to get at the sign-up sheet before he did and then helped her boyfriend to cheat by grabbing a slot out of turn.
Of course I e-mailed her to suggest a different time slot, but it’s unlikely she’ll read her e-mail before 7:30 tomorrow morning, the hour she nailed. Students are so text-happy that many of them never read their e-mail at all anymore. So that means she’ll show up as dawn cracks. If she wants to talk with me, she’ll have to wait until 8:10. Or she could stand around until 8:45 and talk with me after class.
Mr. Perdant will not show up. He rarely appears in class, and the likelihood that he’s started on the paper is almost nil. When he does show up, he’s there in body only. So, even through the dim haze in which he dwells, he should be able to see how pointless it will be for him to meet with me to discuss what passes for his progress. Ms. Paresseuse does come to class most of the time — she’s only missed three days out of 21 so far — and so unfortunately she probably will surface at 7:30 tomorrow morning. So…goodie. I get to start my day with a nice little conflict. I can hardly wait.
*Don’t speak French? Pas de problème. You can always find it on the Internet!