Monday, February 12, 2007

Sulky Princess

There's a Sulky Princess in my class-- she's in three of my classes, actually-- and her charm is starting to wear thin. Today saw her in a truly bitchy state as she attempted to derail part of the lesson I was teaching. I had nabbed a poem from a teacher's guide; the poem, cheerfully whimsical in tone, was written from the perspective of someone narrating a visit by an alien who takes our cars to be the dominant species on the planet. The poem offers interesting context clues that allow perceptive readers to see that the alien is observing cars and not living organisms.

When I was asking the students to give their impressions of what the poem was about, Sulky Princess, who's actually quite sharp but extremely lazy, figured out that the poem was about cars. Then she pouted, "Actually I thought this poem was ridiculous. The alien is too human! And the poem sounds like it was written by a child."

I'm always happy to entertain disagreement in my classes, and wasn't all that perturbed at the princess's observation. But I could also see that she was just fucking with me because today was Designated Bitch Day, so I said, "You know, you're on to something, there. People usually aren't that imaginative when they write about aliens. So let's try this: I'm going to give you all five minutes to write a paragraph describing a sense an alien might possess-- one that isn't like our five senses. Describe that sense in a paragraph, then we'll discuss what you've written."

As predicted, Sulky Princess simply sulked and did nothing while her tablemate wrote furiously. I called time and decided to start with the princess, who I knew had written not a single word.

"Princess?" I asked. [uh, just FYI, that's not her real name]

She shrugged, unashamed of having spent five minutes doing jack shit.

"Why didn't you write anything?" I asked with a predatory smile.

"I think aliens would be just like us, don't you? So there's no reason to write anything," she said.

My smile widened, exposing more of my fangs. "But weren't you the one who said that the alien in the poem was too human?" Laughter from the rest of the class. Sulky Princess returned to her sulking.

A small, small-minded victory. Long live me.

On a serious note, though: it burns me when I encounter people who are basically a waste of my time. "Oxygen thieves," that's what my coworker calls such people: they waste your oxygen by sitting there, breathing, doing nothing constructive. This girl is pampered beyond belief; that much is obvious. Good luck to her. I hope one day she discovers that life is more worthwhile when we actually make an effort at something, but somehow I doubt the lesson will sink in. Meanwhile, all praise to the other girls in my class; they actually give a damn.



Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Don't call her just "Princess." Call her Princess O.T. That can mean either "Oxygen Thief" or "Off Topic" or anything else that might derogatorily fit.

People like her ought to be strung up and fed Exlax.

Jeffery Hodges

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Unknown said...

I have always referred to people like that as "time vampires" if they were just sucking me into their time-wasting world.. or if they are actually sucking my life force from me, i call them "psychic vampires."