The power, the beauty…and the discipline?

In previous years, I have spent some of my creative juices during Fall semester trying to figure ways to convey to the SC200 class the Power, The Beauty and the Joy of science. This year, some of my enthusiasm is being absorbed by discipline problems in class. I have NEVER had discipline problems in any class room. EVER. This year:

  • Insights on the Comment Wall like “my penis is caught in my zipper” and “the blond in the fourth row smells” and “why does my anus move like a flap when i fart?” and “if the circumference of an acorn is 12cm, why is my right testicle 36cm?” and “is it bad for me to ejaculate on pregnancy tests in order to skew the results?”. Despite my very visible anger, the comments continued over several weeks, so I pulled the comment wall from public viewing. 
  • People tried to chat up my TAs via the Comment Wall: “where’d that hot TA go”, “are the hot TAs here? I’ve yet to do my blog and could use some help”, “xxx is hella fine not juss pretty”
  • Inappropriate comments on the hand-in sheets attached to the pop quizzes.
  • People signing in for other people on the quizzes.
  • Plagiarism of blog material.
Even more incredible, there have been endless disruptions in the class. Students have been texting and emailing me, begging me to stop students talking in class. I even had one text last week, asking me to stop a student from watching a distracting TV show, another asking me to stop the person chewing gum loudly. I implore the students to stop, in the most forceful terms, but they don’t. It staggers me beyond belief that there are students who simply do not care that students around them find them deeply distracting. It is a complete failure of basic civility. It is amazing such people exist among fee-paying College students. The ultimate products of me-me-me entitlement generation?
Still, it’s important for basic sanity to realize that the majority of students are in fact highly engaged, intelligent people who care about the class material and their class mates.

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