Sunday, September 02, 2007

Pissing and Moaning...

Arrgghh.

I'm not exactly sure what to do, but I'm sure you guys will give me all kinds of advice. In fact, I'm counting on it!

Since Little Guy is a Golden Girls fan, he's been acting out different scenes for us lately, which is a real hoot. So I'm taking a page from him (and Sophia Petrillo).

Picture this:

A small college classroom. 25 students---1 male, 24 females. 3 long conference tables, chairs mashed in, podium at the front. End of summer, no windows, no air. It's stifling.

(Thank GOD I haven't embarrassed myself by accidentally farting. Yet. Knock on wood.)

Almost 3-hour law class, lecture only. Tests are going to be on lecture---the book and hand-outs are essentially supplemental. It really comes down to how good your notes are, according to the professor.

No papers. 3 tests with essay questions only, one research project. No open books.

And one disruptive woman in the class who simply will NOT shut the f*ck up.

About one third of the class are women who are in my age range (the dreaded 40), give or take 5 years. The rest are in their late teens, early 20's (including the male student). Except for this woman. She's in her mid to late 50's, so she's somewhat of a contemporary of our professor, who I'm guessing to be in his late 50's to early 60's (he's been practicing law for 32 years).

I like my professor. We go over points that are dry and somewhat confusing, and he illustrates them by telling us an anecdote from his long career (he practiced many different types of law before becoming a judge). It's really helpful to understand when you can see how it is applied in real life.

He's a very soft-spoken and courtly gentleman. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to digress a bit. Well, a lot, actually.

In our first class, he gave us the option of taking 2 breaks during our session, or 1 break so we could get out early. It's a night class, and a 45-minute drive home for me. I was elated when the class voted for 1 break with early dismissal.

Back to the woman with the Big Mouth. In our first session, we all had to introduce ourselves, share why we decided to get our Paralegal Certification, and our experience with the law.

A few of the students are looking for new, later-in-life careers (like me, except there are a couple of soldiers in there looking for a different career after they get out of the military). Some are already Paralegals who are looking to sharpen their skills. Some are college grads who aren't sure they want to go to law school and are taking a few classes to test the waters. Some are just out of high school.

Ms. Big Mouth is looking for a new career, and her experience with the law consists of her divorce and her fascination with every episode of Law & Order. Including SVU and Criminal Intent, I think. Oy.

Anyway, here is the problem. Every time the professor takes a breath, she feels like she has to make a comment. I don't know if it's because she thinks she's at a tea party instead of a lecture and this is a completely interactive endeavor, or if she thinks its necessary to "encourage" him, or if she thinks this signifies that she's a good student and contributing.


Obviously she isn't aware (or doesn't care) how disruptive she is for the rest of us.

Most of the crap she says has nothing to do with the topic of the class. A lot of her comments are things she seems to think are "adding" support to whatever point the professor is making, and have turned out to be mostly incorrect. So the professor has to "correct" her statements, and she freaking argues with him about it. Because she saw it on TV. Or didn't see it on TV.

For example. "How come lawyers are able to advertise on TV, but doctor's aren't?"

Hello? Lap band? Lasic Surgery? You out nipping at the cooking sherry during the commercials in the middle of the Law & Order marathons on TNT?

Then the professor HAS to go into a story to illustrate how her comment is incorrect, and absolutely none of it has anything to do with the topic of the class. Since our tests are going to be based on our lecture notes, it's damn hard filtering out all the erroneous stuff.

Ms. Big Mouth sits in the middle of the middle table, so she is smack-dab in the middle of the room. I sit behind her, and somewhat to the side, so I don't really see her face---I just have a view of her oddly hairy back (she wears her hair in a bun).

Ironically, she has appointed herself classroom monitor. During the break in our last class, she chastised a young woman for talking too loud for Ms. Big Mouth to eavesdrop on a conversation the professor was having with another student. I'm serious!

The young woman turned to her and said, "Are you talking to ME?" in an incredulous voice. The student next to me rolled her eyeballs and chuckled. I was secretly applauding and relieved that I wasn't the only one having an issue.

Due to all the interruptions, we did not get out of class early as planned. So not only did we have to forgo our second break, we were LATE. I desperately had to pee, but was afraid I'd miss some nugget that would be sure to show up on our exam if I went to answer the call of nature. One student actually FELL ASLEEP and started snoring in the last 15 minutes!

I was hot, irritated and fantasizing about taking my shoe (unfortunately killer bunny slippers aren't appropriate classroom attire) and beating Ms. Big Mouth over the back of the head with it.

Or maybe grabbing a handful of back hair and shaking her like a rat.

I don't really want to complain to the professor, because he actually is part of the problem. I want to do well in this class, and there's no upside to telling your teacher he talks too much about stupid stuff and needs to stay on task.

On the other hand, I want to do well in this class, and this woman is really disruptive.

The only solution I can think of at this point is to bring a recorder to class so I can listen to it at home and fast-forward over all the craptastic pontification (the assassination of JFK was the defining point of Ms. Big Mouth's life and she was in a diner eating a grilled-cheese sandwich when she heard, you know, as if it's going to show up on our exam).

Any suggestions?

*As a funny note, Big Kid has to simulate a crime scene for his next assignment, complete with photos and sketches. Hubby gets to be the dead guy. This should be fun!

29 comments:

imfunnytoo said...

I'll pass on a strategy from my own abortive college days.

Pass her a pithy note:

"Hi.

The rest of us need to pass this class, and I'm sure you'd like to as well. Give the man at the podium some peace and let him teach. Every time the two of you converse on a tangent unrelated to class material, it holds up the learning process for you and everyone else.

Thanks."

Beth said...

I like imfunnytoo's suggestion - what have you got to lose? She ain't your friend.
Or I would talk to the professor (with one or two others accompanying me - bit of a chicken here). Make sure he understands he's not part of the problem (a lie - he is) and point out that you all find MBM to be a disruption and distraction. So, could he PLEASE mention in class that comments and questions will be taken after class or during certain times designated by him? (Please? Sir?)

If all else fails, take a pea shooter and aim for her bun.

Rootietoot said...

Talk to the professor. It's a law class, if you present your case clearly he'll listen. I've been around professors my whole life. They're human. Don't be intimidated by him. Chances are he just isn't aware of how annoying this woman's disruptions are to everyone else. If you are logical and reasonable, he'll listen to you and do something about it.

Litzi said...

Hi Attila,
Perhaps Ms. Big Mouth is lonely; no one to talk to (or talk at) all day and the Paralegal class is her big opportunity to spew out her screwball notions. OR…you mentioned that MBM is about the same age as your professor. Do you think her chattering might be a form of flirting? Whatever the reason for her verboseness, I agree with the others that a few of the students have got to bring the problem to the professor’s attention ASAP. The semester has just begun and the longer she’s allowed to keep up her verbal diarrhea, the harder it’s going to be to discourage the prater. You could always stuff a washrag in her mouth…

Please keep us informed to the outcome of Ms. Chatty Cathy.

golfwidow said...

My serious answer is that you need to talk to the professor (per Beth's suggestion: not stressing whether or not you think he's part of the problem).

My frivolous answer is that you could sit in class and, every time she interrupts and leads him off on a tangent, you follow it up by saying, "Excuse me, do I need to write that down? Will it be on the exam?" Once you've said that at least twice in one class, someone ought to be smart enough to get the hint.

Brenda said...

Yep, talk to the Prof, you're paying for a service and not receiving full value for your bucks.
Or, if that don't work, ya'll tie and gag her before class and hide her in the cleaning closet.

Reckon Big Kid'll let you share his crime scene photos with us?

Big Pissy said...

Yeah...you really have to talk to the professor....take a few other students with you.

Good luck! :)

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I love the note concept.....so passive-aggressive....but it just might work! :)

Otherwise, maybe you could do your own pontification to sway the professor back onto task!


Just a thought....good luck!

carmachu said...

Two random thoughts besides the tape recorder, which isnt such a bad idea in and of itself....you can stop it when she opens her mouth.

First, see the professor. IF he's as good as he sounds, you can simple talk to him that your worried your not going to get all the notes properly as the disruptive moment goes off on her questions, taking him on tangents that arent going to be tested, and further illustrate that her last time it actually cost you the break AND made you late.

OR.

You could do as I have done and simple make loud sighing noises everytime she talks, then mock the person when they get all uppity and embaress the hell out of her, and maybe she'll shut up.

Or you could do both....

Myron said...

Being the polite, caring individual I am I would probably say something like "what the fuck does that have to do with ANYTHING?"

Angela said...

Those people are such a pain. You have lots of good suggestions
Can't wait to find out what you do.

Ann(ie) said...

There is one in every class and it's maddening. urgh! Since you sit behind her maybe you could start pelting her with skittles every time she opens her big fat mouth? It'd be fun anyway. =P

I'd talk to the professor, girl. It's clear she's on everyone's last nerve. GOOD LUCK!

phlegmfatale said...

"Or maybe grabbing a handful of back hair and shaking her like a rat."

THAT one gets my vote. *LOL* You poor thing. It's only one semester, right?

Kate said...

There was a similar woman in a class I had at college (maybe they are related LOL) we actually did what Golfwidow suggested and asked if we needed to take notes. I don't think the loud mouth got the point, but the lecturer did and after that tended to cut her short when she started wafflng.

However, I do like the idea grabbing her back hair and shaking. Yes, it's mean, but you'd feel so much better.

Jacqui said...

Sorry Attila, No real suggestions here. I slept through most of law school (like one of your class mates). You do have some excellant suggestions. I really like the suggestion where you clarify whether it is on the exam. Maybe you can talk a couple of your classmates into taking turns with you in doing it.

Or maybe if you talk to the professor and ask if there can be a set question time at the end of the session instead of as he goes along. You know, to save interruptions and so you can get out of the class on time ; )

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Meds. definitely Meds.

Samantha said...

I really like the idea of you taking a recorder to class, you might want to do that anyway to help later on. I think that you should have a quiet word with the professor about the going off tangent thing, he'll surely understand. If that doesn't work, I recommend a group attack on this woman. All speak to her and ask her to stop.

Heather said...

To be honesty, ATM, I would have either verbally made it clear the woman pissed me off or I would have hit her, so I think you're probably handling it better ha ha.
:] i like everyone else's ideas, too. i would listen to them, instead of mine! ha ha.

Anonymous said...

I would just confront her on the next break in front of the other students. Let her know how much the class means to you and how disruptive her interruptions are.

carmachu said...

Ooooo oooo, I know I know.

Bring a dart gun and next time she talks, shoot her with a knock out dart!

Flamenco Mom said...

Sorry Attila, wish I had some great advice for you. But when you figure it out, please let me know--I thing Ms. Big Mouth's double is in one of my classes too, LOL!

Manda said...

After this, I might never go back to school! I would probably end up getting kicked out of class for telling people to shut the hell up.

P.S. You've been tagged on my blog.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Spit balls all the way.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it's the professor's class to do with as he pleases just so long as he covers the material listed. One of the things you're supposed to learn in college is how to deal with those bearing other opinions and if you aren't willing to either confront the instructor or MBM, you have only yourselves to blame. It'd be nice if the professor only stuck to test material but in the real world, it is more important to learn how to filter out the babbling moron's so think of it as getting in some bonus instruction. (ducking-lol)

kim said...

I say wear the bunny slippers to class next time :)

Nightmare said...

I would do what I did as a non traditional student returning to college. I didn't talk to the professor, nor did I wait until the end of class, or make funny noises every time the offender spoke, I, just once, raised my voice and asked "What the hell does that have to do with anything that we are discussing?" . That generally embarrassed the person enough that they either dropped the course or shut up for the remainder of the class.

Of course it didn't hurt to be a big guy either.

katerina said...

Seriously, every classroom has to have that one fucking jackass that just won't shut his/her snackhole.

I like I'm Funny Too's suggestion. I'd usually just sit there and seethe, wishing hateful shit on the person.

Anna said...

Argh, I HATE that.

Like, I'm here to learn, even if you aren't. Fucking stupid people piss me off.

Luckily our lectures at uni usually have 100-ish students and everyone just sits there silently hoping the lecturer doesn't ask them a question!

Except me. I ask questions myself. But they are intelligent questions. The other students think I'm weird...

MoonNStarMommy said...

Heehee... I wanna see Big Kids report!! That'll rock!!

I'm soooooooooo sorry (or am I?) that you have Mrs. Big Mouth in your class and Mr. Off Subject Teacher... lol...