Thursday, September 07, 2006

Wild Students

Having taught for quite a while, I have had a lot of students. Students are like most individuals, they come is three flavors: Good, Bad and Indifferent. As a Professor, I get to see and hear about many oddities in the lives of students. Often my role is as pastoral as it is academic. Last year, I had to deal with a Katrina victim who tried to jump through the window outside my office (this is on an upper floor). Students freak out. They miss mid-terms due to being in jail. They have disfunctional life situations. They have parents who are too poor and too rich. Today though, I ran across a circumstance that was even beyond me.

Let me emphasize, one of the interesting things about being a professor is the students. Once, during a class, a student bit me. It was not painful or nasty, in fact it was almost affectionate, it was a bit 'out there' though. Another student of mine has spent time in jail for bomb making. He was in high school then and he is a very bright guy. Yet another student would briefly play a harmonica after asking a question in class. This was curious! On an official evaluation I had someone write "If I was a broad, I would fuck this dude". Another student had a name that was phonetically identical to 'Fuck D'Ho'. Giving back tests to this student was quite exciting. For all this 'color' though, today I came across the oddest thing ever.

Since the semester started, I have had calls and e-mails from a person registered in one of my classes. They wanted to know whether they could take the class as a correspondence class. As this is a history of philosophy class, the texts are not too easy to just read, so the lectures matter. This student was quite insistent though. Today, I discovered why. Apparently, over the Summer this student underwent 'gender reassignment' surgery. They now worry about being seen on campus under their new identity. Although I can feel some empathy for this student, it does make me wonder a bit. Do people in such situations not undergo counseling? Should this person not have support for their new identity? Although I have seen a great deal of freaky stuff, this has to be the wildest. So, the question now is what should I do? I want to support this student in their life choices, but what kind of negligence led to this circumstance. Should anyone have been in a similar 'pickle', suggestions would be very welcome.

The CP


Blogger divine galaxy said...

what an interesting situation.

while I can certainly feel compassion for said person. I would not being too interested in allowing a philosophy course, one I would assume steeped in discussion, to become a correspondence course.

If this person were to miss the discussions, then the material would truely become academic and I have never seen the point in education that is solely academic, it goes in one ear and out the other, the thing that anyone should remember in a philosophy course is the discussions.

my 2 cents.

I am under the impression that people who under transgender surgery are required to spend a year before hand taking the necessary opposite drugs to acclimate their body, and undergo therapy for the change at the same time. I believe there is even a 6 month waiting period of therapy before you can even take the drugs.

Now don't take my complete word, I didn't undergo the surgery, I saw a 20/20 report or some such thing, and this is what the person went through.

7:03 AM  
Blogger ToastedSuzy said...

Have you met with the student face to face? I might be inclined to do that before I made any negotiations at all.

Perhaps just having that first school-oriented encounter might help the student ease his or her way back into academic life.

It sounds like that would be a good way of helping the student regardless of what your decision is about the class. Meet with him or her at a coffee shop or bar or somewhere.

Of course, I live in a puny little town where I'm likely to see former and future students fairly regularly--so, I suppose the logistics are different for me than they might be for you.


Ps. I'm probably an asshole for asking this, but, is this student the same one who wrote "If I was a broad, I'd fuck this dude"? If so, you might want to reconsider or disregard what I've said above.

9:24 AM  
Blogger The Combat Philosopher said...

Thanks for the suggestions. This is not a student I know at all, which is one of things that make it more tricky. I suggested the private meeting, but this was no acceptable. Obviously, the 'on campus' version was ruled out a too problematic. The off campus version was not ok, as it involved a 'public place'. An no Toasty, it was not *that* student!

I figure, the situation is going to fix itself -- there is really too much reading in the class for anyone to catch up after the beginning of next week. Problem solved. It still blows my mind though...

The CP

3:03 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Listed on 
BlogShares web stats Site Meter