Since my very first teaching gig, every time I go out somewhere there’s this little fear of running into one of my students. As previously stated on this blog, I don’t really embarrass easily. But I’ve run into students while I’m dressed in funny costumes and it just kind of makes things… a little awkward.
Well Friday I ran into one of my students outside the classroom. But I’m not the one for whom things are now awkward.
Context: My university has this spring tradition which is basically an excuse for kids to get drunk and make bad decisions. Now I know you’re thinking, “Doesn’t every college have a tradition like that?” Not on this scale. At least no other college I’ve attended has. I’ve been around my share of drunken parties in my life, but I have never seen anything that approximates the large scale public drunkenness of this event. Think New Orleans at Mardi Gras. Then imagine the people around you are a little younger and a lot more annoying. And handle their liquor worse. In perhaps the most disturbing display of how open the debauchery is one of the waxing salons I drive by was running a special on Brazilians in honor of the event. Yeah. Don’t think about it.
Students miss entire weeks of classes for this one. And act shocked when professors don’t cancel classes. Or expect assignments due. I’ve had students use up their “free” absences early in the semester then come to me all concerned because they needed to miss class for this. Professors tend to respond to this with one extreme or the other: either they cancel class or they have major tests/projects due. I didn’t do either, though there was a super easy class that nearly everyone got 100 on.
Friday I was driving across campus on my way back from a meeting and I looked beside me to see a small sedan with about eight large frat boy stereotypes crammed inside. I was only a little surprised to notice that one of the guys in the passenger seat was one of my students. Suddenly he and the guy on his lap both noticed me looking at them and called out, “Hey, what’s up baby?” I smiled and looked back at the road because the light had turned green. And that’s when I heard, “Oh fuck! That’s my TEACHER!” Perhaps it’s the way his voice suddenly went falsetto on the word “teacher.” Perhaps it was picturing the expression on his face Monday morning. But it is hands down one of my most amusing student interactions ever.
(For the record, he came in slightly late on Monday and avoided eye contact as he signed in)
Survival tip for college drunkenness: Make sure that chick you’re catcalling is not responsible for determining your grade.