Tuesday, May 30, 2006

k'eu-rae-i-ji geol

One of my coworkers, Z (buy her book), told us a few days ago about a new student who wouldn't sit still, who broke out into song, who constantly interrupted, spoke loudly, and almost always spoke in Korean. Z's opinion was that the student wasn't all there. Based on Z's testimony, I agreed.

I had the pleasure of meeting this student today.

Yep-- she's a fuckin' nut.

Z surmised that the girl was off her meds. Another coworker, WS, said the girl never acted like that last year, but that she (let's call her "KrayzeeGrrrl") had experienced a nasty breakup with her boyfriend. A third teacher, EG, wondered whether the boyfriend had been especially abusive. WS said that the boyfriend had, in fact, called her a "mi-ch'in-nyeon," which I suppose could be translated as "crazy bitch." Not the best line to hurl at someone who's already over the edge.

I suspect Z's surmise is right. My first thought, upon encountering the girl this morning, was "Whoop! Whoop! Chemical imbalance!" I felt especially bad for another of my colleagues, because KrayzeeGrrrl was chasing him around, even loudly admonishing him (in English this time) not to smoke. KrayzeeGrrrl burst into my classroom while I was in mid-lesson to ask loudly where that coworker was. I assumed he had made his escape-- as I would have, had I been in his place! I told KrayzeeGrrrl I didn't know where he'd gone.

I have no clue what mental/psychological problem the girl has, but the idea that she needs medication to interact semi-normally with others is plausible. Her symptoms seemed to be the following:

1. Absolutely no sense of personal and social boundaries. I was in the teacher's room, getting ready for class, when she burst in on us teachers and latched onto me for a moment. "Oh, you look hot!" she said-- a reference to the sweat beaded on my forehead. She grabbed my hand fan from out of my hand and started fanning me. Her lack of a sense of boundaries was obvious not only in her willingness to charge into the teacher's room and grab a possession of mine, but also in the questions and remarks she began firing at me: "What'syourname? Whereareyoufrom? Whereareyougoingnow? Why?" Later on, we all could hear her screaming-- literally screaming-- inside the nearby stairwell. Not screaming incoherently, either-- it was something in Korean, but I couldn't catch the meaning.

2. Compulsive, energetic behavior. KrayzeeGrrrl's movements evinced focus and a need to press on with whatever she had decided to do. The rapidfire nature of her questions-- questions for which she apparently required no answer-- is an example of this. Her gestures and overall bodily comportment were not at all sluggish.

3. Extremely rapid mood swings, as evidenced by the tone of her utterances. She was scarily in-your-face with me, but not angry. In the hallway and stairwell, however, and in talking with my harried colleague (I could hear this through the classroom door), she sounded as though she moved from pleading to angry to friendly, passing from one emotional state to another like someone trying on a series of masks.

4. Erratic mental focus and a near-complete lack of an attention span. This may be linked to (3). From what Z had said, she seemed unable to sit down and absorb a lesson. KrayzeeGrrrl has no sense of the linear.

Heaven help us if this chick is allowed to register for our courses come July! I've just sent an email to our supervisor strongly suggesting that this student not be allowed to sit with the other students. From what I hear, KrayzeeGrrrl has already sat in a Korean teacher's class, where she promptly drove away most of her classmates: they couldn't put up with her behavior.

At this rate, I'm averaging one crazy girl per year. Remember last year's student? If not, take a gander at these posts from the early part of my Smoo career:

Start here...
...then go here...
...then here...
...and here...
...and here...
...and lastly, here.



Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Some might cautiously allow a correlation here, but I see a strong causal factor at work:

The Big Ho drives women crazy!

Well ... that's my scientific conclusion, anyway.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

Anonymous said...

If it's not one thing, it's another.

Over the years, I've had a few students who seemed ready to check into the who-who hotel, to borrow an Archie Bunkerism.

But they've been less trouble than others with more mundane issues.

For example, I had this 300+ pound guy in one recent class. Too fat to fit into one of the regular desks, he's park a chair on the side of one desk, ostensibly to sit and learn. Instead, he'd doze off and snore away during class.

Over the years, I've become a lot more easy-going when dealing with this kind of annoyance. In this guy's case, I just ignored him, guessing (correctly, it turned out) that he'd flunk the first midterm and take it as a hint to drop.

His behavior served as a cue of sorts for one of my favorite ways to admonish back-row conversationalists: "Shhh.... there are people sleeping."

But by far the most frustrating and annoying pair of students I had to deal with was a couple of black girls who played the race card in order to get into one class. For the life of me, I can't understand why a person would fight to get into the class of a prof who was seriously pissed off at them, but fight they did. Since I was only part-time at this particular institution, I figured it was better to lose this battle rather than my job, so I ultimately allowed them to enroll in my class. Natch, I was praying they'd fail-- on the advice of a senior member of the faculty, I faithfully copied every single assignment they submitted-- and I went through their work with a fine-toothed comb, but they did accrue enough points to pass, so pass them I did.