You know, I so dread Psychology class that I've begun to lay awake in the night trying to figure it out. I know that I cannot explain it to you, not really. You have to actually be in the class to understand what I'm trying to explain. Last night, laying there fretting about things, I figured out why I couldn't keep myself still during the last class. Standing before us claiming that she could tell whether we liked her or not by looking into our eyes. Then, after scanning the class, she laughed and said, "Don't bother looking down. I can tell that you're trying to hide something." Although this bothered me (it was the second consecutive class in which she had made this comment ), I was able to keep still. However towards the end of the class, when she said that if a seven foot tall person called you a vulgar name, you would not retaliate. I listened incredulously. If by retaliation, she meant take a ball bat to him, well, no. I wouldn't. But I would say something. The fact of the matter is that bullies behave as they behave, because they don't expect to be 'called on it'. I do respond. I respond in a strong voice, so that others in the surrounding area are listening. The bully may mutter vague nonsense, but they usually are very uncomfortable in the limelight, and back down. Her response, "Well, if the person is your boss, you would not respond." If my boss called me a vulgar name, I certainly would speak up, because there are workplace laws that forbid that sort of behavior. She then said, "If you spoke to him about this is a group setting, you would be demeaning him." Um. If he called me a vulgar name in a group setting, he needed to be corrected on that in the self same group setting. You are determining how you will be treated by not only the boss, but the entire group. You can speak up for yourself in a reasonable way. She stated that I had 'lost her'.
Thinking about things last night, I realized something. This teacher is in a position of authority. Just as she was so certain that one would not challenge the vulgar boss, she was expecting that her authority was unchallengeable as well. To have a student disagree with her was completely unexpected. This is why I had 'lost' her.
This morning we went to class and she wanted to speak with a few of us about how the class was going. One of them was (of course) me. I was not happy about meeting with her privately in her office. She was quite insistent. I met with her. She asked me to refresh her mind about grades. I told her that I was getting an A at this point. She asked me what I thought of the reading. Fine, I said. She talked about how stressful teaching was. I listened. She asked me if her 'little anecdotes' illustrated the concepts she was trying to teach. "Sometimes not," I said. I think that she was surprised by that. I told her that she generalized a great deal, she asked for examples, I gave her some, she explained that I did not understand her humor. She encouraged me to call her or to e-mail her. I said, 'I'll keep it in mind.' I left that office knowing a couple things. Number one, I make her nervous. She's doesn't know what to do with a grown woman who speaks forthrightly. I feel kind of badly about that. I've never thought of myself as intimidating, but I can see where I might be, in this case, anyhow. Number two? Yeah. She knows exactly who I am, and she reads this blog. Betcha bucks.