So, tomorrow, I have class, and I am in a weird position of dreading it.
It’s the Chaucer class–a class I enjoy the texts in, and a class I wholly respect the professor in. The problem lies with my fellow classmates, I think.
And by saying that, I don’t really mean to participate in a ‘me-versus-them’ mental exercise, because internally maybe they are all squirming the same way I am. But all I get is my perspective, unfortunately.
It’s a seminar. Which tends to imply discussion. And as graduate students–a near 50/50 blend of MA to PhD students, too–we should really have interesting, thoughtful things to say about the stuff we have read. I mean, yeah, there will be the stupid blunders (like my, “Why does he keep referencing corn when corn is a new world crop?’ moment, but excuse me for not being fluent in British), but we should also be able to answer questions about the text and draw connections between two different pieces.
Except it didn’t happen that way last week, at all. And me? I am a big ninny when it comes to heavy silences that follow a posed question. I can’t stand them. So I piped up with answers. Most right, or at least on the right track of what Dr. M was looking for, but… and this is the upsetting part… I was the only one. Nobody else was forthcoming. At least 85% of the questions asked, I was the only one to offer a thought, and that was after sitting there, silent for a good five-ten seconds, waiting, PRAYING for somebody else to pipe up.
I DON’T like being *that girl* that answers all the damn questions, I really, really don’t. But I also can’t just sit there while this whole implied contractual obligation of the seminar setting goes down in flames.
As class drug on–painfully, wrenchingly so–I started growing a fantastic headache behind my left eye, and as such even my responses petered out. And so Dr. M would ask a question, we would all sit there in silence, students would look down at their books, and nobody would answer. Once we sat in silence for what must have been three minutes before Dr. M gave in and answered her own question. And they weren’t crazy-complex, either, and as if in response to the collective duuuuh that seemed to settle over the class, she began dumbing down the questions to something I would have thought rudimentary in an undergrad class.
This hurts. Maybe I’m the crazy one, but I feel like as students we have a responsibility to have something to say. Isn’t that the point? Am I nuts?
At any rate, the result is that I now dread this class–three hours of torturous nothingness that I feel compelled to try to fill. And I am not a Chaucerian, by any stretch. It’s not my thing, it’s just good background.
I want to love this class. I really do.
But so far, that is unfortunately not the case. Perhaps a cattle prod would help liven things up a bit. any port in a storm, right?