Monday, April 07, 2008

She's still loopy

First day back today, and the loopy professor is as loopy as ever. I had been a bit worried about seeing her again since the student evaluation results came back. This happened while I was away, and The Man opened the envelope. He found the results funny enough to email some of the comments to me. The loopy professor's classes are a waste of time, students wrote (yes, multiple students). She talks about herself all the time. Badaunt's classes are fun and interesting. She listens to us and helps us to understand.

Words to that effect, anyway. Usually they don't bother with writing comments, but apparently they felt pretty strongly about it. I got a lot of positive comments. The loopy professor got a lot of negative comments.

I laughed when I read The Man's email, but I laughed nervously. This woman may be nuts and a horrible teacher, but she is my boss.

I discussed with friends how to deal with it if the topic of the evaluations came up, and decided that the best way was to be the 'dumb gaijin who can't read,' and with a bit of luck she wouldn't remember that I live with a translator. Actually I was fairly sure she wouldn't mention it at all.

But it was almost the first thing she said to me.

"How lovely to see you!" she blethered as she wafted into the teachers' room. "I am so happy you can work with us again this year! The student evaluations were very good! They like our classes VERY MUCH!"

"Er, how wonderful," I said, weakly, and as she looked at me expectantly added, more enthusiastically, "That's very good to hear!"

"Yeeees!" she said. "The team-teaching system is working VERY WELL!"

I'm not sure whether she doesn't realize that the evaluation results were posted to me, or whether her brain has just papered over the inconvenient fact that the students thought her classes were rubbish and were uncharacteristically eloquent about it.

She told me that she wanted to combine our first class. I mentally threw my lesson plan out the window and told her what a good idea I thought that was. In fact admin had forgotten to assign us two classrooms, it turned out, so we didn't have a choice.

Naturally, she took charge and I was the gaijin tape recorder. She taught the students a few facts about foreign culture she made up on the spot (as far as I could tell), told them to ask me my nationality and name and to ask, "How do I call you?" Then she told them to call me Badaunt-sensei, something I usually spend quite a bit of time trying to teach students not to do. "Call me Ms Badaunt," I tell them, "Or else use my first name. We should use English terms of address in an English language classroom."

I must remember that this year I am Badaunt-sensei at that university. It would not do to tell the students the loopy professor has it wrong. And I'm hoping they'll forget "How do I call you?" even though she made them repeat it about fifteen times. What do you do in situations like that? Correct your boss in front of a class of first-year students? I DON'T THINK SO.

While I was typing up the class list (I took the opportunity of my lack of a clear role to get some paperwork done) she finished explaining the course to the students, then got out a DVD she wanted to show them. She opened the video cabinet and fiddled around. After a while she came over to me.

"Do you know how to work the DVD player?" she asked, handing me the DVD, and giggling slightly hysterically. "I can't figure where it goes. Hee hee hee!"

It turned out that the classroom was not equipped with a DVD player. She had been trying to put a DVD into a VHS player.

I volunteered to run downstairs and get a DVD player.

When the guy came with the DVD player, he could not get it to work properly. He could get sound, but no picture. The loopy professor ended up babbling at the students until they were terminally confused, then letting them go early.

It was a funny sort of start to the week, but I am looking forward to seeing half of those students next week, on my own, and demonstrating to them that at least one of their teachers is not a complete imbecile.


Lia said...

Yay! New semester, new stories.

That is not a fun situation to be in, to be sure, but I can see it will be fun to read about from here. Good luck with team-teaching. I can't understand why anyone would think that would be a good idea.

Lulu said...

The bit about the dvd in the vhs player made me spit water out of my mouth....luckily most of landed on me and not my laptop!

I hate it when Japanese people say `How do I call you?`

I hope you semester gets better (but with funny stuff you can still share with us! hehehe)

Hebron said...

You have more restraint than I do, it seems. I would have immediately responded to "How do I call you?" with: "With a telephone, stupid!"
I'm not sure how well the students brains would have taken in, but helpfully adding an alternative phrase of "How should I refer to you?" or something along those lines would have been my knee-jerk reaction.

This is more than likely why I am not any form of teacher. Tutoring chemistry is my limit :P

kenju said...

I think they will figure that out very quickly!

Keera Ann Fox said...

What Lia said! The loopy professor shows much promise as good fodder for stories. :-)

Contamination said...

I had been looking forward to new stories about the loopy professor. But I guess you must have been dreading your time with her...

Hopefully the student comments help you to retain your grip on sanity....

Clearly she let go long ago.

But doesn't SHE have a boss who looks at such things?

Badaunt said...

I am very happy to hear that everybody is looking forward to my hellish year with the loopy professor. At least SOMEONE is enjoying it.

Actually, I must admit I deal with her by telling myself, repeatedly, "Blog fodder! Blog fodder!" So in a sense, I'm looking forward to it, too. I'm sure she will provide many entertaining stories for the blog at times when I am otherwise uninspired.

This is what blogs are FOR.