English Composition One
September 17, 2014
The bad Class
“If you say that word again, I’m gonna stab you in the neck with this pencil,” a female student quietly said. “I’ll shoot you in the parking lot!”
her potential victim, a male student recently moved from Memphis, loudly volleyed. As a 4-year teacher of every grade from pre-school to college freshmen, I cannot honestly give a definitive answer as to what qualifies a group of students as a “bad class,” but I would say the incident mentioned above—as well as several others similar to it—might provide a strong case for an English Composition One section I taught deserving that honorific.
Even before that fateful day when I was unsure whether or not to just cancel class, call the cops, etc., this particular class had impressed its instructor (negatively). I knew beforehand one of the students was extremely intelligent; he had proven that when I had taught him previously. Every day, he developed more and more into a narcissistic personality: he mock greeted quiet students, he said the college owed him more than he owed it, in a discussion on proper student practices and helping fellow students he revealed his self-serving attitude that saw everyone else as means to his ends. He dropped out of a huge university after the first semester in order to enroll in a tiny local community college, only to not finish his courses there. The female (pencil) student mentioned above would flirt with him: “You look like a cuddly teddy bear; will you be my teddy bear?” She was always bragging about her husband and their marriage. She asked me once if I was married. She made class impossible.
After “T (threat)-Day,” my division chair came in to observe the class himself. It was a disaster in its own right, right from the outset. After I began lecturing, one student came in late—“SORRY I’M LATE, SIR!!!” he sincerely said....