Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Summer School Day-Dreaming

All good little GayProfs started summer school today. Well, all good little GayProfs who desperately need some money to salvage their horrific credit rating started summer school today.

As a student, I had the realization that the popular media grossly misrepresented the truth about summer school. I imagined that summer school involved the uniting of several different quirky personalities to form a microcosm of society in one classroom. Over the course of the summer, all of these different personalities learned from each other. They overcame their individual problems by acting as a newly created support group. Plus, summer school always ended with a massive party.

Of course, most of my dreams about summer school circulated around Mark Harmon running around in short-shorts. Actually, I didn’t really care about the microcosm stuff as much as I wanted to have a teacher like Mark Harmon who taught without a shirt. Mmmm, he was dreamy in that god-awful movie.

Alas, though, my adolescent fantasies about dreamy Mark Harmon never came to be. Instead, summer school as a student always fell flat. Through college, I took summer classes to get ahead (Why the hell did I want to do that?). They tended to be grueling and exhausting. My professors never looked like Mark Harmon. Indeed, I would have rather poured acid in my eyes than see them in short-shorts.

Now, as a prof, I am on the other side of the chalkboard – Well, actually, I don’t really use the chalkboard – and, come to think of it, everybody is on the same side of the chalkboard – so, that metaphor doesn’t really work. Whatever.

This summer I am offering my standard Chicano History class. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like teaching and love my students. It’s a fun class to teach (unlike intro to U.S. History).

Still, I find summer school just as grueling as I did as a student. First, you have to meet with your class everyday. EVERYDAY! This is not the life of an academic who is accustomed to teaching either MWF or TTH during the regular semester. Yeah, I know, I have to it sooooo tough. Pity the GayProf.

Second, both you and your students face some pretty rocky struggles to stay enthusiastic about any topic for the full 95 minutes of class-time. Frankly, I could resurrect César Chávez from the dead and invite him to talk to my summer class. After the first 50 minutes, students would be glazed eyed and folding paper airplanes.

Neither professors nor students realize what each other thinks about during summer school. Yet, each group drifts off into their own thoughts during class. Here, though, is a list of our hidden reflections:

    Student: “I can’t believe we have to read 200 pages per week. Oh, man, GayProf is a dick.”

    GayProf: “I assigned 200 pages, but will be happy if they read 100 pages per week. I am sure they understand that summer school is more intense.”


    Student: “We have to write a final paper for this class? Oh, man, GayProf is a dick.”

    GayProf: “Why did I assign a final paper? That means I am going to have read and grade them. Oh, man, I am an idiot.”


    Student: “He never holds class outside. Oh, man, GayProf is a dick.”

    GayProf: “Why, in the world, would anybody want to be outside in the Texas heat? Do they not see I am wearing a tie?”


    Student: “Why won’t GayProf stop talking? This lecture is so boring. Oh, man, GayProf is a dick.”

    GayProf: “When can I stop talking? This lecture is so boring. Oh, man, summer school sucks”


    Student: "I wonder if I stared at GayProf's head long enough if it would explode. Oh, man, GayProf is such a dick."

    GayProf: "I wonder if it is worth suffering through an episode of Navy: NCIS just to see Mark Harmon again.


    Student: “Maybe I should have taken the History of Flags on Maps instead. Oh, man, GayProf is a dick.”

    GayProf: “Maybe I should have taught the History of Sexuality instead.”


    Student: “At least this class fulfills my diversity requirement and my history requirement all in one go. But, man, GayProf is a dick.”

    GayProf: “I wonder what Anderson Cooper is doing right now.”


    Student: “Ha – GayProf doesn’t realize I have never taken any notes since class began. He is such a dim-wit.”

    GayProf: “Ha – That annoying student hasn’t taken any notes since this class began. He is going to fail this class so badly. He is such a dim-wit.”


    Student: “Maybe I will ditch class tomorrow.”

    GayProf: “Maybe I will show a film tomorrow.”


    Student: “Gee, GayProf sure sweats a lot.”

    GayProf: “Gee, these students seem to take many holidays form hygiene.”


    Student: “We sure spend a lot of time talking about New Mexico.”

    GayProf: “We don’t spend nearly enough time talking about New Mexico.”


    Student: “Oh, man, I thought this history class would be an easy ‘A.’ GayProf is such a dick.”

    GayProf: “Oh, man, I thought teaching this history class would be an easy paycheck. Man, being in debt suuuuuuuuucks.”


    Student: "I wonder what other students are doing for the summer."

    GayProf: "I wonder what other people do for a job."


    Student: “I can’t wait to go out to the bars tonight.”

    GayProf: “I can’t wait to go out to the bars tonight.”


Elizabeth McClung said...

I took summer school EVERY year in uni (we even had 2-3 semesters of summer school) - I liked it because it was better than dragging courses out for a whole year - and because I was a fast reader I was the only person getting an A in the class (1000 pages a week minimum). Now I see the other side of the coin and know that when I finally get that uni job, I will likely be teaching summer school - we can meet up and have some drinks competeing to find which one of us has students who care less, and how we did 5 things today we would have been ashamed to do during the year as a teacher but simply don't care about any more. Go gay prof!

Kalv1n said...

This is so different from my summer school experience. I loved taking classes in the summer. Granted I came in more hung over than I ever would have during the year, but that's just my summer glow--deal with it. As for the other students, we were all motivated, and it was refreshing to see people actually interested in the subject. I especially liked that the classes were smaller, and I felt like I could concentrate on them more. Maybe I'm just a dork.

GayProf said...

Kalvin: You sound great as a student (well, except that drinking problem thing). Do you want to take Chicano History this summer? In Texas? Come on, you know you want to. Everybody else is doing it, why not you?

Anonymous said...

Aw, *I* wouldn't mind taking a summer class with you (coincidentally enough, I am taking a History of Sexuality in the United States course this summer; because it's actually interesting, it's an undergraduate course, but I'm going to try to get the professor to give me graduate credit for it).

However, your post has made me dread the one graduate course I am taking this summer. God knows what kind of drill camp that will be.

Dale said...

All I remember about summer school was it was pretty much all sex, all the time. Only I didn't go to summer school so now I've got to question everything! Thanks gayprof.

tornwordo said...

Well, I would sympathize but haven't you been OFF for hundreds of days or something? Please, cry me a river. (wink)

Dorian said...

I'm sorry, what? Were you saying something? I was completely distracted by that shirtless Mark Harmon picture.

Conor Karrel said...

Are you sure your super hearing/mind reading capabilities weren't a little off, I'm sure that student was really thinking/saying "GayProf has such a nice..." well, you get the picture. Because wasn't summer school all about being hot for teacher?

dirk.mancuso said...

I always took summer school because of the hot professors. (wink)

That said, thank heavens someone else has seen SUMMER SCHOOL and was smitten by the beauty of Mark Harmon. I can still hear that E.G. Daily song as they struggle with the final exam....sighhhhhhhhhhh.

Oh, one other thing...the stalking of Steve McQueen? I'm guessing you are doing very little legwork since he doesn't get out much these days.

Adam said...

I only ever took summer school in HS. I took PE because I couldn't fit it in my schedule during the year with band AND french IV AP. It was great, we lifted weights and watched movies all day.

Margaret said...

GayProf, you know I adore you. But it's uncanny how you read my mind (if my mind were funnier).

I freaking HATE teaching summer school.

And I freaking LOVE Mark Harmon. So much so that I watch NCIS every week. So thank you for all those yummy pics to feed my addiction!

Frank said...

You know, I wasn't into Mark Harmon, but the student who was always asleep because he moonlighted as a stripper? HOT! Or at least he was in the eyes of my pre-adolescent homosexual self. Looking back, he probably had a mullet or some other 80s hair atrocity, but I didn't have many opportunities to see half-naked men gyrating in thongs, so I didn't have much to choose from.

I can sympathize with both students and professors about summer classes. If you're REALLY lucky, you get a good group and it turns out great. Unfortunately, it's usually full of half-awake, hungover zombies, which makes it fun for no one.

But I refuse to believe the most common refrain of your students, is "GayProf's such a dick!" It's probably, "Man, he's so dreamy, I can't concentrate on his riveting and thought-provoking lecture!"

Paisid said...

“I wonder what Anderson Cooper is doing right now.” me too! haha. like your post a lot.

i took summer school the past two years (i'm still in college), and even though i consider myself a good student, it was especially hard to keep motivated during the summer months.

Anonymous said...

I solved the paper grading problem with the "group paper." Because I teach law and philosophy of law, I told them that they would rise and fall as a team practicing law. So, they had one paper to write as a group (five per group) and that they would all get the same grade as on the paper just like in the practice of law. Thus, they had to self-police, plan, organize, and write. I only had to read five papers. It works great, and they all did get the material.

BlondebutBright said...

Student: "Maybe I will ditch class tomorrow."

GayProf: "Maybe I will show a film tomorrow."

This one always makes me giggle: The absent student approaches you in the next class to find out what was missed, and you get to say, "Oh, nothing, we just watched a film." The expression is priceless.

Andrew Purvis said...

Hmmm. I rather enjoy summer classes. Then again, I teach English. I appreciate the compression (our 18-week semester gets squeezed down to 6 weeks), as it allows me to drive my students harder and get better development from them.

Is it draining? Sure. Do my students wish I would, just once, let them leave even five minutes early? Undoubtedly. Is it worth it? Absolutely. And that's before I remember that every week I work in summer is like three weeks with the same unit load in the regular term.

Anonymous said...

I just started a summer class, too! I wanted to get one elective out of the way so my third year of grad school wouldn't be too hellish. At least our prof is as interested in having a relaxing summer as we are; the class looks like it's going to be a breeze. Whew!

I worked at a movie theatre when "Summer School" was out! Mark Harmon was quite the dreamboat in it, but I always used to sneak into the theatre to see Ken Olandt's strip scene. Woof, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Um...you do know that Steve McQueen is dead, don't you? Can you really stalk the dead?

GayProf said...

Dirk and Mike: Yes, I realize Steve McQueen is no longer alive. The dead make easier stalking targets -- You mostly know where they are going to be. Sometimes GayProf is a busy man. He needs his objects of stalking to stay put.

Anonymous said...

wow... this is sums up so much of my feeling about teaching as well... although, with far fewer appearances by Mack Harmon.

Anonymous said...

I'll be working summer school at my brick oven middle school. Just realize that it could be worse....

Luciferus said...

Have you considered teaching shirtless?

Castle of Stink said...

Not all gay profs started summer school last week. Ours started today, and though I was scheduled to teach, neither of my classes had the required no. of students (falling one student short). I turned down a performing job to teach SS because it paid more... but, alas, I planned poorly and now have no summer income. How am I going to pay for my new plasma tv?

Roger Owen Green said...

Just FYI: Mark Harmon turns 55 on Sept 2.