Two weeks ago, I had a very negative encounter with my Creative Writing teacher. I will repost the blog that I wrote then (at that time I wrote it on tumblr before getting this new blogspot account).
“Yesterday night, I was so offended I had to walk out of my Creative Writing class. For the record, I love this class. The teacher can be pretentious and rude, but that’s what you can expect from some teachers. You can’t mention a single book or movie without him saying it was overrated, and he picks on one kid who can’t speak English well so often that it upsets me, but it’s not like these things are that bad. The Turkish student takes it in stride, and Family Guy is overrated (even if I can quote every episode), so whatever. He just wants the kids to like him, and it works. It’s not like that is a crime. But yesterday he crossed the border between ‘Fun Teacher Who is Trying to Hard’ into ‘Offensive Jackass’ so quickly it made my head spin.
This may be a bit long, even though the whole scene took about five minutes. I entered class at 4:30, expecting to stay until 7:30 as usual. I left at 4:45, if even that late, because I couldn’t handle the inconsiderate jerk teaching.
The teacher, who will remain unnamed in this blog regardless of how I feel about him, walked into and started class as usual. He took the attendance, joked around with the boys in the class. When he finished, he said something along the lines of “I need your guys opinions. I’m writing a column, let’s talk about Japan.” I am too optimistic, even though I know this is one of those teachers that like to be ‘cool’, I thought we’d actually talk about it and started thinking about what I knew. It’s a mix of a lot and a little because I have friends over there and have been following what’s been going on because of that, but also have a weak stomach so haven’t looked at articles with pictures (which is pathetic, I know). Then he immediately laughed and asked “Is it too early to make Godzilla jokes?”
I was extremely firm and looked right at him and said “Yes” pretty damn loudly, because I’m f*cking sick of that goddamn joke. I’ve already removed three friends from facebook for that one, and I told him that, too. He ignored me. He also ignored the other five people who said it wasn’t okay as well. Someone goaded him, and said something along the lines of if people were still offended, then it was okay to make that joke. Because God forbid you wait a nice month or so for when Japan has recovered and people are all accounted for (like the people I care about who I haven’t heard from yet).
That is when I started shaking and packing up. I’m in the front row, so he saw me, but kept making joke after joke with some of the more ass-kissing students. What would they call it? Godzilla v. Tsunami? And they were laughing like nothing else. Finally I slammed my homework down in front of him and started leaving the room. He LAUGHED even more and said “See! Richardson is so pissed she’s leaving!” I was in tears and snapped back that I have family and friends in Japan (which is true), he laughed once more and said “okay” as if he were humoring me, and I slammed the door and immediately called a good friend because I was having a mini-breakdown.
I am disgusted at the teachers actions. I understand ‘Art needs to be Controversial’, though I don’t believe that. However, it had been four days. People are still missing. People I know and care about still haven’t been able to be contacted. Japan will make it through this, obviously. They were prepared. The fact that in a country with 127,560,000 people only lost around 10,000 in this disaster is proof of that. The entire country was built to deal with this sort of situation. They’ll be back on their feet soon enough… But we aren’t at that point yet. And we certainly aren’t at the point where it’s okay to make these sorts of jokes. For some reason, it hurt less when I was reading them on the internet. When a friend wrote them, I would just leave a comment telling them that it was offensive and I was un-friending them. When a stranger wrote them, I just ignored them and continued on (with a bit of my faith in the human race leaving with them).
But when a teacher, who I am paying money to learn from, makes those sorts of jokes even after being asked to stop, and then insults a person when they leave the room because they are so disgusted by his actions, makes these sorts of jokes, it crosses a very thick line. I have a tolerance for jack asses, you have to to function in our society, but I guess this time it hit much too close to home. My boyfriend put it well, saying ‘If someone had made a crack like that four days after 9/11, we would have kicked his ass.”
The worst part of this entire story is that it didn’t just end there. I know from a friend who stayed in that class that he had to defend me for a half-hour after I left, which means that he didn’t stop. I was hoping at least after I left that he would be shamed into acting like an adult, but that wasn’t the case. I still am not sure how I should react to this, but I better figure out before next Monday, because I have his class and at the moment I don’t think I can even look at him without feeling a sense of unbridled rage in my heart.”
Since that day, some things have happened. I wrote the the head of out English department to set up a meeting. However, because this week has been Spring Break for my college, I will finally be meeting him this Monday. I’ve had some people, including a family member, tell me that it won’t be worth it and I’ll just be patronized during the meeting, but I hope that isn’t the case. I’ve also been told that I’m overreacting… Which really hurts because I feel as though I’m still in the right, even weeks later. I am trying to be as polite as possible after this event so that no one can question my character in all of this. I just want teachers to act respectable, especially when they are speaking about recently lost and destroyed lives.
However, now that two weeks have passed I am starting to believe that the head of the English department will just say I'm overreacting, and nothing will be done about this. Worse yet, I fear going back to class and being mocked by the teacher. You see, this teacher is very rude to lots of people. He spoke of me after I had left the class, which is grossly inappropriate, and I know he won't be too 'nice' to make fun of me to my face.
If he does, I'm not sure what I will do.
I might freak out, I might cry, I might throw books across the room. Honestly, I just can't even guess. I'm going to speak the the supervisor about this, as well, and hope that he will speak to my teacher about not acting like a dick to my face.
All I know is that if he makes another crack about Japan, I will scream at him. I won't walk quietly out of the room, I will yell. It's not right to make fun of someones suffering that way, and yet in our society it happens all the time. I don't even know where to put the blame anymore, because the jokes are everywhere. Maybe it is just the way people 'cope', but that wasn't the case here. My teacher was purposefully pushing buttons to stay relevant, and because of that I will never forgive him. I will write on Monday about exactly what happened.