I should probably not write about my students as much as I do, but sometimes they just crack me up enormously. I just know one of them is going to somehow find this site and run in horror or have me shot. Especially my newest student, who has a problem with anxiety such that he talks faster than I do and seems to be more nervous than a man with a kilo of dynamite strapped to his chest.
He came running in the door, breathless, concerned that his essay had more than five paragraphs and that his thesis statement wasn't restated as the first sentence in his conclusion. He kept twiddling his enormous thumbs, hunched over the keyboard far too small for his enormous body, and moaning that he would never get an A on his essay.
I was so startled to recognize my own manias in another human being that I didn't even pause to help him. I just leaned in closer and got him to talk about his top five worries of the week with me. I love that I know someone else who has worries of the week!
We eventually talked about his paper for awhile, but not too long because it was basically fine. "Student," I said to him, "You are free. I free you from the five paragraph essay. And, at least once per page, I free you from worrying about ending sentence with prepositions." I think it worked from him. He seemed far less concerned with his formatting.
Then, he decided he would still be worried in the morning. He asked if I could come in and meet with him at 9am on Friday. I have yet to see a student actually make it in at 9am, so I was totally shocked when he bustled in at like 9:03. Talking like the Micro Machine guy, he told me in one breath: "I was up all night watching Troy. That's like my favorite movie ever. And don't you just love how when we turn our alarm clocks off our bodies wake us up on our own when we know we have to be somewhere? Does that happen for everyone? Cause not my roommate. Sometimes he doesn't even go to class. Can you believe it that someone would miss class? Think of all the easy class participation points he's missing out on. What should I worry about for my in-class essay? Should I do an outline or a concept map?"
I convinced him he would be ok on both the take home and the in class and he pressed print. He pulled a stapler out of his sweatpants pocket and was on his way.
After I was done laughing hysterically that he carries around his own office supplies, I started to wonder what would happen if Corey were anal like that, nervous like me. I think it's better that he doesn't care about anything at all. I could barely stand to spend an hour with that kiddo. I can't imagine how Corky puts up with my schusshy fits every second of the day.