burningsecrets: Hmm. I wonder what it would be like to be a student of yours.
ou are not the first reader to wonder this. Indeed, one reader–Daddylike?–once said something about giving his left nut to take a class of mine. Well, I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be with someone sacrificing body parts, but I do appreciate the thought. In any event, I think that wondering about me and my classes should be as far as you should go, at least if my students are any indication. Last year, I had a student who hated one of my classes. This year, I have a few who seem to hate me.
Now, I love to teach and I love my students. I have said this more than once or twice here. I will do anything and everything humanly possible to accomodate them, help them, encourage them. I am strict but fair (I think), encouraging but demanding–particularly in some classes. I can be funny and serious, and I always enjoy having fun with them–and I have been knows to perhaps go to far with a joke or remark. But this is, of course, because I feel comfortable with and close to my students. Some students think I give Japanese majors extra consideration. And I do, in a way, but not in the way they probably assume.
At the higher levels, Japanese becomes a challenging topic, particularly literary Japanese–bungo. And I figure anyone who rises to the advanced levels of Japanese and takes my classese must be pretty motivated, serious, dilligent. So what do I do? I push them even more. Yes, I give them extra consideration. Yes, I expect them to never miss a class. I expect them to prepare for every single class. I expect them to get 100% on every quiz and exam I give. Yes, I give students who want to test out of my class a hard-ass exam when they come back from Japan. I’m not sure if non-majors want this kind of expectation placed on them, and even if they did, I wouldn’t because it is, quite frankly, exhausting.
Unfortunately, the “special” attention I give them has its drawbacks. Here is the official description of a new online group at school.
Ouch! They “love to hate” me? I just learned about this “Onigiriman rocks/sucks” group the other day, populated by a few of my students. Am I narcissistic? Maybe as narcissistic as anyone on Xanga who is willing to talk about his or her own life. While to some this may be tongue in cheek–a mere joke–it is painful to realize that there are students who would even entertain the thought that they “love to hate” me (or “hate the fact that they love” me–as if that were any better). This is not the fleeting “Oh, I hate you, sensei!” exclamation when a student looks at an exam, or when I give them a heavy assignment. It is the official description of a group on an online social network for schools for all to see and join. I hope that no one “official” sees it, like a colleague or *shudder* the dean. I’m sure it would raise an eyebrow or two.
Still, I doubt if I will change anytime soon. I will continue to strive to maintain a high standard and leave expectations level where they are. But I should reconsider gatherings at my place. Why would anyone who loves to hate me want to come to my place? I’d hate to think that they feel obliged to come when they don’t really want to. And maybe office hours will be “strictly business” from now on… as it should be.