Dude That’s Rude: Having Basic Expectations of Your Students

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We are in the middle of a panorama. A Panera Bread. A panopticon. I haven’t left my room for more than a total of 20 minutes in the past 96 hours. I have seen another person’s full face twice in person in the month of February. For these reasons, it seems rude that professors continue to have basic expectations of me. Also, I’m tired.

“Do the Readings”

I enrolled in your course because I was genuinely interested in the material. Mostly. For some of y’all, I did just sign up for your course because it met a requirement, though I promise I’m still kind of interested! But asking me to read? In this economy? When I have nothing else to do but watch the downfall of our democracy and make TikToks? RUDE. I tried. I really did. I have had no willpower to read a single word for a single class this entire semester. Not even when all my classes were shiny and new, and certainly not now.

“Have Thoughts”

This one’s obviously rude. I’ve been no thoughts, head empty for most of my time on Earth, but any final brain cells that were clinging to life were swept away with my tears and all my Olympia storage belongings into a black hole somewhere around mid-March 2020.

“Show Up to Class”

The only reason I can force myself to do any reading is because of the severe anxiety I get when I’m in class and haven’t even opened, let alone read, any of the PDFs, and the professor’s getting ready to cold-call people. (Which is its own ‘Dude, That’s Rude,’ but I digress.) The only thing that drives me to get food, a basic human need, is the hope for some kind of human interaction and the desire not to get kicked out of student housing because I haven’t left my room to turn in my latest Covid test. That’s where I’m at. And you want me to sit somewhere other than my bed, find your Zoom link, turn my camera on, and listen? Or even *gasp* take notes?

“Turn in Assignments”

Time does not exist right now. I barely have any conception of when the day turns to night and then back to day again, especially with the constant cloud cover and the blinding blue light that haunts my waking hours and my dreams. Even if I wanted to write an essay (which I never do), I literally do not have the brain capacity to remember a due date or to remember to write down a due date.

“Try to Care”

I am trying. And it’s exhausting. Do you know how hard it is to care about something someone said 50 years ago when I’m going to be 50 years old before I get to celebrate my 21st birthday and wear a Birthday Girl crown at a club?

Professors, you’ve put the bar on the floor, and that’s still too high.

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