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Pay No Attention to the Shrew Behind the Classroom Door

Yeah, it was me.

In what will not go down as my finest hour, I laid into a 70 year old chemistry teacher.  To hear outsiders tell it, I was quite a bitch.   I disagree.

I NEED to get a good grade in this class.  While I have already been accepted into a nursing program, I wish to not give them cause to change their minds by turning in a crappy grade.  I need a professor who is willing to put some time and effort into actually teaching the class.

So, here’s his background.  Italian guy from South Philly – I should love him already, no?  Terrified of science as a kid.  Be still my beating heart.  Father forced him to take Chemistry, and he LOVED it.  Yeah, okay, there’s something wrong with this picture.  He worked a long, illustrious career in the field of chemistry (who does that???), retired two years ago, and has been told by his wife to get his ass out of her house.

Remember that old saying, “Those that can’t do, teach.”?  Yeah, well, this guy DOES, so it should be painfully obvious that teaching is not his thing.

Let’s start with his immediate dismissal of the thought of a syllabus.  You know – the thing that becomes a college student’s Bible over the course of the semester?  The thing that reminds us of what is expected of us and on what day has now been described as “too complicated” and “not necessary”.

In the first two hours, we lost five students.  Yep – they just got up and left.  Never came back.  Unless something mysterious is going on in the ladies room, I would venture to guess they were dropping this class.  Those aren’t very good statistics, even for someone who didn’t shine in her statistics class.

So this is how this particular professor chose to teach the class.  “Class, turn to page one.”  And he read the book to us.  Word for word, never leaving his chair.  I kid you not.  He even read figures that were so enormous, I wasn’t even sure how many zeros I needed!  And he gave no examples on the board.  And he didn’t explain anything.

And he’s a little hard of hearing.  Which is why I may have sounded louder than I should have sounded.

When I confronted him.

Yeah, I did.  I thought I was being polite when I asked him if he intended to teach the entire class that way – no notes, no examples, no nothing.  I may have called one young kid in the front Doogie.  He deserved it.

I merely explained to this professor that I am certainly capable of reading the book on my own, but I was hoping for a class where what I read was explained in depth.  By someone who spoke “chemistry”.  I myself am not fluent in the language.

And if it wasn’t embarrassing enough that a few of the kids – yes, I said kids – attacked me for being so rude to this kindly elderly gentleman, a bimbo behind me, wearing a cut off sweatshirt that said PINK in huge letters across her boobs and low rise sweatpants that said SWEET across her arse yelled out, “I think you’re doing a fantastic job!”  Honey, you do know he’s blind as a bat and can’t even see your boobs, right?  Look how close he has his nose to the book to be able to read it to us.  No way those boobs are getting you an A in that class.

So immediately after class, with my tail between my legs, I took my shrew self to registration and dropped the Italian Stallion’s  old grey mare’s class and registered for a Saturday class.

I hate Saturday classes 🙁


Chemistry – the Final Frontier

Lulled into a false sense of potential personal accomplishment after getting an A in my Prep for Chemistry class, I registered this semester for a General Chemistry class.  It is the LAST prerequisite I need before starting nursing school, and I knew it would be the hardest.  But with that A on my transcript in Prep for Chemistry staring out at me, smiling, doing a little confidence boosting cheer (Go, Anna! Go, Anna!, Go, go, go Anna!), I was confident that the worst I could do in General Chemistry was a B.  I mean, who goes from winning the gold medal in the 50 meter dash to tripping on their shoelaces and falling on their face in the 100 meter dash (please note my use of the word METER instead of YARD – that alone should be worth extra credit in my Chemistry class!)?

Oh, wait…

I’m not sure where I stumbled, although I know why I’m struggling to get up.  I took the first exam of the semester, and while I didn’t walk out of there thinking I got an A, I thought, “Wow, that was harder than I expected, but I think I passed.”  I didn’t.  So now, every time I walk in there to take an exam, I walk in with these words running through my head:

“Oh, you poor, dumb, delusional thing!  Shouldn’t you be home, writing your blog?  You know you can SPELL – and even if you screw that up, you have spell check!  Is this professor giving you “Net Ionic Equation” check?  I think not.  This is so not your thing.  I know, let’s leave now and go get Starbucks – we’ll both feel better!”

I signed up for tutoring – first with a personal tutor outside of school.  That went well.  He met me at Starbucks, which enabled me to get that commiserating latte when he said, “Yeah, shouldn’t you stick with writing?  Public relations?  You know how to do THAT.”  Then I switched to tutors at the college.  I feel so smart at tutoring.  I get all of the problems right that they give me to do, and I go home with a warm fuzzy feeling about Chemistry.  Then I start my homework.  You’ll notice the bald patches I have from pulling my hair out – that doesn’t happen in tutoring.  There is no stress there.

So, I’ve decided to try a new approach for the next exam.  I debated dropping the class and taking it again in the spring – maybe at the College of Chemistry for Dummies.  But that might mean not being able to go to tutoring – which is the only confidence boost I get all week pertaining to Chemistry.  I have decided that the end result of this semester doesn’t matter.  It’s not going to break me (although it may very well convince me that my Patch Adams health through happiness and laughter nursing ambition is a pipe dream), and it’s not going to make me cry.  Much.  But I’m going to stick it out, no matter what happens, just so I know I didn’t quit.  And when I sit down in that chair to take my exam, I am going to feel like it’s okay if I don’t do well.  The last of my Chemistry tears have been shed, and the others are water under the bridge.  Raging, angry, white capped waters (yeah, I cried a lot this semester).

No more psyching myself out.  It’s like I tell my kids when they’re fighting over who gets the pink cupcake and who gets the yellow.  You get what you get and you don’t get to bitch – or you get no cupcake.  No more bitching over chemistry.  I won’t get a cupcake for keeping my mouth shut, but I will get the satisfaction of knowing that I didn’t flee in the face of failure.  It feels damn good.