Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Beavis and Butt-head

I have two students—two guys—who look and act almost exactly like Beavis and Butt-head. They chortle and cackle; they're always either talking to each other or casting furtive glances at me; I'm constantly taking Beavis's cell phone away from him because he's so goddamn addicted to it. I tell my students, again and again, not to use their cell phones, but many of them refuse to listen. I consider this rude and offensive, but the students don't seem to care that they're disrespecting the teacher: they want their phones.

In the cartoon, Beavis is the one with anger-management issues, and my personal Beavis is no different, as I found out Monday afternoon. This was the final session for the 1PM class (all of my classes meet only once a week), which meant that today was the final exam. Students engaged in a group-interactive activity, and the other students had to watch quietly. Do you think they did? No, of course they didn't: people sneakily looked at cell phones and whispered to each other, so I had to play the burly Catholic nun and do a lot of shushing and confiscating. Beavis had his phone out and was making little attempt to hide what he was doing; I sauntered over and beckoned for his phone, which he clutched tighter and hesitated to give to me. "Phone number, phone number," he sputtered in the only broken English he could manage after a semester in my class (yes: I failed this boy, just as Obi-wan failed Anakin). I think he was trying to say that he was in the midst of taking down a classmate's phone number; I didn't care, so I beckoned again, more insistently. Beavis's face curdled into an angry expression and he slammed the phone into my palm. I immediately stepped forward, eyes wide and threatening, lips drawn tight, radiating bulky menace. "Sorry-sorry," Beavis said, deflating as quickly as he had puffed up. I won't tolerate dominance games in my class.

Beavis was a hair's breadth from failing. He hadn't done any homework all semester; he didn't do his presentation, and he had a zero score for his participation grade, given his habit of talking with his more-talented friend Butt-head. Yet somehow, miraculously, thanks to a decent performance on the final, he managed a pass. While it would have been tempting to fail him anyway, I had no inclination to play unethically with the numbers. A pass is a pass, even if it's a lowly "D." I'll let you imagine what "D" stands for in Beavis's case.



Charles said...

"D" for "Dynamite"?

Kevin Kim said...


Charles said...

Woohoo! I win!

This makes me feel so much better, especially since I lost the last guessing game.

King Baeksu said...

You don't seem to understand: When you confiscate their smartphone, you're actually taking away their functional brain. How would you like it if someone tried to lobotomize you? Such a meanie you are!