Remind me: Patience is a virtue, right?
Honestly, I've done a very, very good job of worrying less about this class on a collective level, privileging my own work more, but still managing to care about individual students and help those people who are making an effort succeed.
So, okay. I know it is nearly the last week. I know we only have two classes left and that everyone is very tired. But this is precisely why I have assigned them a wonderful, moving novel which is ethically complex, yet not stylistically or structurally difficult, for the last couple of weeks' reading. It also ties together many of the themes we've encountered over the course of the class and should, therefore, help the students to begin reviewing for the final.
It's C.S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, a book I personally adore. And it's not just me. Everyone I know who's read it thinks this novel is pretty fantastic.
It would be difficult to imagine a lazier response from a group of students. It would be even more difficult to imagine how they could make it harder for me to bother. They were, if anything, worse than they have ever been today. So much so that I very nearly just threw up my hands halfway through and said, "Forget it. I give up. I am not wasting any more time with you. You clearly don't give a damn, and, by God, I am tired of busting my ass to introduce you to lovely things and teach meaningful classes when you are so openly uncaring. Just show up for the final exam, and let's get it over with."
Fortunately, I have more self-control than that. I know, however, that my facade cracked enough to show that I was disgusted with them. I've lost the capacity to pretend that their cow-like blankness is not infuriating.
This is a group of intelligent people, all of whom are under the age of 25: they are too smart for me to believe it when they play dumb, and they are too young to have earned the right to that much ennui. I'm sick of their "Seriously,-it-is,-like,-so-incredibly-uncool-to-have-to-be-in-class-right-now,-dude,-'cause-I could,-like,-so-totally-be-hanging-with-the-band-instead" poseurdom.
I may simply turn our next class into a 45-minute lecture, give them some information about the exam (which will happen during our last class session), hand them the evaluation forms, and leave. Frankly, I would rather hear my own analysis of this novel than keep dragging reluctant responses out of them, endure their mock-stupidity, and bear up under their apathy toward something I love.