I see them every now and then – furious complaints or snappy comebacks about student behavior, posted or shared by college professors on social media. Sometimes they’re pretty funny. Overall, though, they bring me down.
Here’s a thought: What if we abstained from posting nastygrams about our students, just for this semester?
Students have thrown some curveballs my way, but many have left me open-mouthed in amazement. I’m talking about students who revealed they were the first person in their family to set foot on a college campus; a student who wrote a gorgeous short story out of the blue, because something in the assignment touched him; students reading ahead in the assigned book because they got so into it.
If I succumb to the seduction of a social media rant, I degrade those stories. I feel only the anger of the injustice and the momentary boost from Facebook cheerleaders.
If you’re not convinced that a rant moratorium has merit, consider this: Acting like a cad isn’t just for students.
In Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay presents a beautifully humble essay on her first year of teaching college students. She writes:
Sometimes, during class, I catch students staring at their cell phones beneath their desks like they’re in a cone of invisibility. It’s as funny as it is irritating.
…Sometimes, when students are doing group work, I sneak a look at my own phone like I am in a cone of invisibility. I am part of the problem.