I knew something was up when I got four messages from Ms. Indifferent Lazy Student in a 45-minute period.
The day before, I had given their final and collected their writing portfolios, which included research notebooks and final papers. I had a stack of 35 of them remaining when my phone went bonkers. As time was limited, I ignored the messages while I slogged through grading and commenting on a great deal of dreck.
Opening Ms. ILS's portfolio was an eye-opener.
Scribbled all over her notebooks were variations on a theme: "I wish this fat bitch would shut the fuck up." "Her clothes are atrocious." "I fucking hate this boring-ass class." "This woman is a pain in my ass." "I fucking hate English now." I'm going to hit this bitch with my car." There were also several "round-robin" notes with at least three participants, all of whom were bemoaning the fact that they had to, you know, actually do work in class.
Ms. ILS's class was one that I took over in mid-March; their previous prof had "resigned for health issues" halfway through the semester. (Yeah. As in the Dean, Provost and other Admin bigwigs said, "It would be good for your continued health to get the fuck off campus and never set foot on property again, you sleazebucket." Mmmm-hmm. Improprieties abounded.)
Upon assuming the duties for the class, I discovered that there had been no work done -- period -- for all of the first (fall) semester and the first half of the spring semester. There were no grades, no assignments, no records whatsoever. In other words, we had to cram roughly 21 weeks' worth of remediation and six weeks' worth of new material into the remaining seven weeks of semester, or everyone was going to have to re-take classes.
Fuck it. I could do this! I'd drag them, kicking an screaming, through this class! They'd pass, they'd learn something ... they'd excel, God damn it! I created a plan, worked out a syllabus, scheduled extra sessions, made myself available for supplemental work, re-worked the grading scale, dealt with Deans and Department Heads falling out of my asshole...it was a shit-tonne of work. I was confident that they could do the work, and that we'd all survive the semester.
Except for the fact that they had grown accustomed to not having to do shit -- not even show up to class.
My optimism was sadly ill-founded.