Friday, April 16, 2010

Shaking It Out

Well, this is old ground to me-the end of the semester. I have had some truly good students this year. I posted this at the beginning and decided last night that some thoughts on this might amuse you.

With my class, there are three things already against it as far as credibility. The first is that it's only one credit. As one smart-ass kid who argued with me about his grade (many semesters ago) told me, "This is only a one credit class." To which I retorted, "Yes and even that has requirements, requirements which you did not fulfill." The kid bargained with his grade. I was amused by his desperate attempts at persuasion and let him have a decent one. My mistake.

Sidebar: This kid I just mentioned had this air of trouble about him. When I would call his house to reschedule a lesson, his mom had a real dark and chilling presence about her. Don't call me a drama queen, she just had this stone cold vibe about her. Much later, long after the kid had finished the class, he was caught going through purses at the CHS reunion. He talked his way out that too. The classmate who caught him evidently gave a sock to the face. The kid is going to be a lawyer, a politician or will be in prison. That's my prediction and I'm willing to lay cash down on that with anyone.

The second thing is that it's "only a guitar." Nice. Want to get on a the good side of a man who has devoted his life to the study, practice and performance of an instrument? Call it "just a guitar." My blood boils at the mere thought. But, let me step outside my own paradigm for a sec, from the student's perspective, I fully understand. The guitar is everywhere-it's a plaything in Rock Band for goodness sakes. No meaning.

Lastly, the class consists of weekly one-on-one instruction. Again, this doesn't appear serious to the students.

Here's the roundup:

The Pretty One

One student has missed four times. This becomes tricky. How do you call a student on their bullshit and not be too harsh in doing so? It has taken me years. I bet I was downright obvious in my displeasure in the past. Now, patience. Carefully calculating words, watching reactions. This student came in last night with enough perfume to choke me. It has that powdery effect on your nose and throat. Awful.

Besides the perfume overdose, she was all dolled up.


She knows she down a few points. She also has to provide proof that her four absences were legit. Her performance of the pieces is hit and miss. I kept hearing her making excuses and sort of laughing. She's trying to go all girlie on me to recover her grade.

I gave her the speech as kindly as possible. Evidently, her coach wanted her to come to practice telling her, "It's only one hour. It's only guitar." You see, sometimes what we suspect are people's attitudes are in fact accurate. If I was an asshole, I would email her coach and tell him/her that I did not appreciate those comments. She understood what she has to do and I very much hope she does it.

At the end, she said goodbye using my first name. Are we on a first name basis? I don't think so.

Overall, I haven't had any problems like in years past, but now we are down to the wire and that little thing called a syllabus becomes more real.
And things are shaking out. Oh yeah.

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