This post was inspired by a response I received to my last one. For those of you who don’t want to read it, here’s a quick summary:
I wrote a “love letter” to one of my bratty former students. She hated me then but probably loves me or my teaching now. She also thought I was attracted to her back in the day. She’s hot and would be fun to sleep with in a decade or two, but she’s obnoxious and immature now.
The response I received made me imagine that she could have been reading the piece. (And she could be you, my dear reader. She could be all of you for all I know.) And so I’m going to administer a little pop quiz, in part because I’m curious and in part because I really miss torturing students with pop quizzes.
When I implied that you don’t have the brains to back up your bragging, did you think I was talking about you? Did you recognize yourself in my description of someone who desperately needs to grow up?
You always thought I loved you. When I made jokes about wanting to receive nude photos of you and eventually sleep with you, did you view that as confirmation of your beliefs from all those years ago?
Question 1: If you recognized yourself in the criticisms I made, you are not my former student. The ability to recognize your shortcomings is something that our educational system does not encourage you to do; therefore, it is not a quality to be found in the typical immature person. You are special and unique because you know that you are not special and unique.
Question 2: Although a “yes” response may reveal your inability to recognize a joke, it’s more likely that you’re not psychologically capable of realizing how silly your earlier imaginings were. I wouldn’t complain if you sent me those nude photos anyway, but you’re deluded if you think any former teacher could focus that way on a student for so many years. And even if I could, why on earth would it be you? The fact that you think I want you is more likely a symptom of your desire for me. You were always hot for teacher and you just can’t let go. You went into a lot of debt for that degree and you think you deserve everything your teachers have to offer. You are an entitled little brat, but you are probably cute. (BTW: Don’t get your hopes up. Kittens are cute too.)
You were my student four years ago when you were in your first semester of college. You despised me and made sure that hatred was known, but you also thought I was madly in love with you. Or maybe it was lust you thought I harbored. No matter.
Through some miracle, we made it through the semester and went our separate ways; somehow, I never was able to forget about you. And I know you never forgot about me. It’s a sad fact of life that teachers remain psychologically connected to the students who created the biggest problems, not the ones who were exceptionally good. But we are not just connected through our memories of one another; we are connected through our mutual intellectualism. You like to proclaim your braininess as loudly as you can, and I can never be too far away to hear you brag. Seriously… you brag that loudly. That’s what makes you so precious and lovable.
But I can also see your pain. Your student loans are dragging you down and your boasting has become muted by people asking you how someone so smart got so far in the financial hole. In the meantime, your mind has created an idealized vision of your college experience and you have grown to love me, the teacher you once abhorred. Or: you love my teaching, but probably not me. I sure hope you don’t love me; you’re not my type. (However, please send nude photos my way if you get a chance.)
You have to love me now because it’s all you have left. College is over for you and no one has to treat you like you’re special any longer. And you have to justify to yourself why you spent so much money for a fancy school. So while I used to be annoyed by you, I now pity you. This love letter is not to the student I once taught, but to the one who will someday have grown up. And you are growing up… finally. Sooner or later, you will be someone I might enjoy sharing a coffee with, but it is saddening to know that you won’t be 25 or 30 until that happens. College has kept you and your classmates as infants for too long. I really don’t enjoy sleeping with infants.
And I do hope you decide to share that coffee with me sometime. Pour it over my grave if it takes you that long to grow up; I’d prefer the coffee to the saliva you wished for once upon a time.
May our love continue to blossom!