I can’t believe I’m saying this, Miss Mary Sunshine that I am about my students.
One of them – a great student – is really getting on my nerves. Who would have thought an exceptional student could bug me so?
She is the Golden Child (henceforth she will be known here as GC) of this department…my colleagues have been gushing about her to me since my first week here. She is in my theory class on Wednesday nights. And yup, she’s good. The level of intelligence and calibre of discussion are high in that class to begin with – and she and another student are far and away the brightest there. Until last night, I was really appreciative of her presence (and I still am, to some extent). She’s the very model of an engaged student; it’s hard not to love that. She is also very sweet and kind.
GC sits right next to me (it’s an around-the-table kinda deal). And she has the most irritating tendency to interrupt me to take exception to many of the things I say. I am absolutely fine with people challenging me – there were people who disagreed with the reading I was giving of one of our readings, and that was just fine; it was a great class. But for christ’s sake, let me teach the goddamn class already, GC! Yes, you’re damned smart – probably brilliant, probably way smarter than I am. But it’s my class. Why can’t you just take your turn with the other folks?? Why do you have to sit there policing me? (Some of it did feel like policing – once, she corrected me when I used the word “of” instead of “for” in the name of an organization! And then smiled, self-deprecatingly, sweetly. Argh!!)
I felt as if she was this irritating elder-colleague presence. As if I had invited some senior person in to watch my teaching and she ended up inserting herself and her freaking wealth of knowledge into every nook and cranny of the content. I shouldn't feel that way with a third-year student, for goodness sake!
GC also seems to have some sort of encyclopaedic knowledge of the biographies of every fucking theorist. So sometimes others have asked specific questions about the life stories of people we’re reading – and she’s on it, boy. She just jumps to answer them. And that’s fine – I don’t have a monopoly on this stuff. Frankly, I don’t care all that much about the life histories of some of the people we’re reading – that’s not why we’re reading them. So if someone’s asking, share your wealth, GC. But last night someone asked a question about one of the folks we were reading, and I started answering. And there was GC trampling right over me, talking as I was talking. And ending with a quiet aside to me about one of the things I’d said about said theorist. ("To be fair," GC said, "she apologized for [famous, evil thing this theorist said].")
Shut up, GC. I know she freaking apologized - it wasn't the apology that mattered!!
Now I feel mean and grody. But ugh – she’s getting under my skin in a big way.