Apparently, it’s 13th grade

 I’ve been slightly frustrated the last two weeks with my drafting class. While the teacher is knowledgeable, the class is moving at a slow pace. Not so slow that we aren’t on target, but slow enough that I’m able to work ahead in the book, do my homework and still leave over an hour early. It’s not that I’m brilliant, but I know how to sew, I’m all about getting an education and I have got work to do. Class isn’t social for me. It’s business.  

 One of the things I liked about my undergrad experience (do you like how I said that as though I had a graduate level experience, lol) is that people *wanted* to be in school. In high school, it seemed like half the people rather be somewhere else. Yet, here, people complain about, well, everything. They complain that we have homework. They complain that we have to sew for homework. They complain when they come in early to complete sewing assignments on the school’s machines, but don’t tell the teacher ahead of time so she isn’t there to help them. They complain that the class is ‘too fast’ but when we finish early they don’t stay for help or to do the homework that they inevitably won’t have the next class.  So, the next session, my class starts 20 minutes late while they are in the machine room finishing up homework due that day.

 You know what, I haven’t even gotten into the 30 mins of remedial math I sat through teaching folks how to read a freaking ruler (for the record, this is covered in fourth grade and again in 10th in the state of Maryland. I checked). That, is a post that I haven’t had the, tact, to write.

So, today, I had to take out my earrings and have it out with one particular student. Now, this is not my proudest moment. But, this 50 something classmate did her homework assignment wrong. We should have drafted and sewn princess seam front and back bodices. But, she only did the front. When she realized this, she got belligerent and accused the teacher of saying it wrong and not communicating effectively.  My awesome teacher gave the assignment correctly and it’s written in our syllabus. This insane woman was the only one out of 15 who got it wrong. She starts arguing with her during the middle of a quiz. And when I say arguing, I mean verbally badgering the instructor about telling her the wrong assignment and that she needs to communicate better.

The 13th graders in the class are just giggling away like it’s a stage production. After a few minutes of this, I turned around and pointed out that she was wasting my time and money and she needed to go to office hours instead of taking class time to work out her inability to listen. So, she starts yelling at me! I, of course, get completely out of pocket. Here I am leaving my job during the day to be here and actually learn something.  It was admittedly stupid to argue with her. I was giving her exactly what she wanted – attention.

Half the class was egging her on and half the class was egging me on. All of a sudden, I felt like I was on the set of Mean Girls.  Once the words ‘bougie’ came out her mouth,  I said screw it and left class. I was already done with the quiz and the first assignment and had worked ahead and completed the next assignment. And now, I’m just frustrated and annoyed. I’m letting her take all the fun out of the this for me. Because she’s like this EVERY. SINGLE. CLASS. Why should her foolishness dominate the class?

Awesome Leslie in Austin says I need to talk to the instructor. But, quite frankly, I think she’s a young Eastern European woman teaching a class of ethnically diverse women and is intimidated. This is the second time this woman and I have gone at it. I just have not done a good job of being the bigger person. 


  1. Cidell,

    I feel your pain and I understand your need to address the issue but you did give her what she wanted. She is not going to accept responsibility for her own inability to communicate or listen effectively. I would address the issue with the instructor either before class or by email.
    You paid for the class like everyone else and deserve to get your money’s worth. I get the bougie thing all time but it is a cop-out for people who are intimidated by your intelligence and the way you carry yourself.

    Don’t let this immature person ruin something that you were so excited to do. Do NOT give her that power.

    I hope your next class goes better

    • Thirteenth grade is right. How awful for you. I agree you have to complain to the instructor either before class or by e mail. If that doesn’t do it I’d go to the dean of your program. This woman’s behavior and language should should just not be tolerated by the administration, but if you don’t inform them she will continue to get away with co-opting the class with her bullying and racial slurs.
      When I went back to school for landscape design I went to a community college after having completed an undergraduate art degree at a high caliber university. I had never heard such complaints about the work in my life. The younger students didn’t know the meaning of a deadline and didn’t know that homework is meant to be done at home.
      Like you, I was serious and had little patience for the complaints and the time wasting. I do think that most of them could read a ruler, but maybe not. Good luck.

  2. Yeah, you can beat yourself around the head for tangling with this woman, but the root problem remains: the teacher has lost control of the class. You do need to talk to her. Tell her that SHE needs to take the class back and get it on track, and that she should stop disruptive students and if worse comes to worst, tell them to leave the classroom. I’ve taught continuing ed classes and I’ve run into this kind of problem. I use gentle humor to try to defuse this kind of situation, but if it gets bad (and it only has once), I put on my “Executive VP face and voice” and tell the student that if they won’t stop disrupting the class, then gather their things and leave. Then I waited in silence and stared down the offender until she sat back down. She didn’t disrupt the class again.

    Oh, and when someone comes out with an ignorant comment like she does, my line is, “Is that the best you can come up with?” That usually stops them.

    Wow, I guess that one hit a nerve. I didn’t mean to go on and on. Don’t beat yourself up.

  3. I am wondering why this woman is in class, other than to annoy and disrupt? It takes all kinds, so it’s said. Unfortunately.

  4. Cidell, I’m so sorry that happened to you. What that dreadful lady did is not ok. However, I am a teacher, and I also feel strongly that it is the instructor’s job to set the tone of the class and that includes reining in such inappropriate behavior and not allowing students to badger her. You are all grownups, and as Carla said, you have a right to get your time and money’s worth without such high school melodrama. Your instructor may be a wonderful teacher, but she’s not doing her job if she allows this to interrupt her student’s learning, as it has yours.

    I would also email your instructor. And if that doesn’t work, I suggest you go over her head to the dean or department head. The school needs to know if ineffective teaching or belligerent students are making dedicated students think twice about attending (and offering their tuition dollars!) Good luck and keep us posted.

  5. I completely feel your pain. I always berate myself when I “take the bait.” While I can’t offer any advice on how not to do that since I’m working on that myself, all I want to say is that you are there to learn, not make friends. Don’t let anyone steal your joy.

  6. Wow, how awful. You wouldn’t think a person like that would be in a class like yours. Don’t beat yourself up for letting her get to you. I would have done the same thing. You hit on it when you said the teacher was intimidated. That’s the root of the problem whether you’re teaching 4th grade or college. You have to have control. The teacher has to be the intimidator when things start to get on the wrong track.

  7. Wow, tough situation. That woman sounds like she’s been playing with one of those DIY Lobotomy Kits.

    There are 2 important pieces of information I think you’ll need to make a decision about where to go from here: what is your teacher able/willing to do and will she be supported by her boss? When you have that information, you’ll know what the appropriate course of action is for you to take.

    Would it be an option for you to get a refund and arrange private instruction from your teacher and pay her out of your refunded fees? It sounds like the class is half-full of idiots and you’re interested in what your teacher has to offer – how to get less of one and more of the other?!?

  8. Out of control. You are right that this woman is wasting your and everyone else’s time. Other commenters have given good advice, I don’t have anything different to add. Just wanted to say – Wow. What a different experience than you were expecting, I’m sure!

  9. This was my experience in school, as well. In college, but also in patternmaking classes. The younger ones were always behind and didn’t take it seriously, not to mention how catty they were.
    The older ones were know-it-alls who had to constantly interrupt the instructor to make it known how smart they are.

    Just stick with it and do the best you can!

  10. And that is why I don’t take classes. There is always a know it all or a belligerent idiot in every class. Sometimes one of each. Pity. [I went to class for 19 years, can’t take any more!]

  11. Dude, I totally wanted to scratch my eyeballs out when i went back to school. I was at the community college starting out in Physics, and I was amazed at just the plain nastiness exhibited by people, not to mention the remedial math lessons taking up half the lecture time.

    My best advice is to build a relationship with the professor so that you are able to get in there on off hours and do your own thing. She may even treat you as an advanced student and basically give you special stuff aside from the basic curriculum.

    And as far as lecture time goes…. Ipod.
    ps I just posted on my blog about plastic template sheets, I tried to leave you a comment on your post but I couldn’t for some reason.

  12. I think Paula’s suggestion of private tuition is brilliant. You would get a one on one focus from the tutor and I bet it would be a bright spot in her day to teach someone who appreciates the process. Keep us posted.

  13. I love your descriptions, Cidell!
    Okay, this is a really crummy situation and you shouldn’t have had to be the one to say something about this annoying woman. The teacher really should deal with her and when time is being wasted, that should entail something along the lines of, “This discussion is closed for now – you can see me after class (or office hours or whatever).”
    I find that people are frequently unable to say anything to the rude people, preferring not to get into it when someone’s behaviour is wrong. So it’s good that you spoke up. But not good that the teacher is not able to set a better tone for the class.
    It’s surprising to me that the other people in the class are upset when they don’t do their homework right etc – does it really matter if they get a bad mark? It doesn’t seem like they’re taking the effort to learn.
    I hope the class is still worthwhile for you and keep writing about it – I do like to read your writing!

  14. Oh how awful for you! As a teacher I’d tell her to leave or be quiet. Ann is totally right. Don’t let this ruin your learning experience.

  15. OMG, i just can not believe all this is going on in your class! i just don’t know what to say, but I agree that at the very least you should have some communication with the instructor.

  16. UGH. I’ve spent a lot of time in school, and this rings a bell. You’re right, she’s getting attention on several fronts. a) she’s using smoke rings to draw attention away from the fact that she screwed up and wasn’t prepared, and b)she’s testing the teacher and the rest of you to see who’s in control. You paid the same tuition she did and you deserve the same amount of the teacher’s time, more actually if you finished early and the other students are working. The teacher needs to take back the class, if she can’t the school needs to intervene and yes, they need to know you will take your tuition dollars (and those of your friends and acquaintances) to someplace worth your valuable time. This isn’t gym class, didn’t you have to show something you made to get into the class in the first place? If this woman is over her head, the humane thing for the rest of the class would be to bump her to something her own level and let the rest of you get on with it, and the teacher needs to make that clear. If you walk out, the person sitting in the back without your chutzpah will lose too, as will the next class, and the next class… K

  17. You are in a tough situation. I had a sewing class where one woman was horrible. She was at least a half hour late to each class, didn’t understand anything about patterns, her machine, anything!!! She cut out the pattern wrong and then had some family member sew it together for her. It was an A-line skirt that ended up with an elastic waist. Fortunately she was only in class for 1.5 classes of 3 or 4.

    I used to teach in grad school, your teacher needs to deal with it or one of her superiors if she cannot, it will continue until something is done. And they shouldn’t start class late for those who don’t come on time.

  18. It’s so hard to not let someone like that drag you down. I say stick it out and try not to react to the offender. Good Luck!

  19. Just wanted to throw my weight in behind you! This post is really vivid, and you’ve got some great comments to prove it. As another student and teacher (of undergraduates), I’m grateful for your boldness in standing up for your instructor, and at the same time your discernment in assessing the situation with her. Good luck!! Keep us posted!

  20. This sounds like an awful experience and I’m truly sorry you have to deal with this. Lots of good advice above me, and I would start with an email to the teacher. If your teacher’s from another country, maybe she didn’t understand every word that was said in the heat of the moment (I’m Norwegian and had to look up the word bougie) If you calmly explain to her what is going on, things might change.
    You’ve given me a perfect excuse to continue my self-study 🙂

    But seriously, I hope it will be corrected. You are young, but this isn’t good for your health. I’m glad you vented.

  21. Oh, dear, it sounds like an annoying experience. I can see how the other student was able to push buttons (I would have gotten annoyed, too and I woulda been cussing in the parking lot). I agree with some of the other respondents–you should talk to the instructor, well before the next class to discuss your concerns. I think that you want your teacher to know *your* goals and objectives and that you regret your participation in today’s incident, and you don’t want to repeat it. I think that you really need to let your teacher know your regret/feelings (I’m dancing around the word ‘apology’)–she might be shellshocked that this argument happened, and she might not realize your point of view. I think you should talk to your teacher sooner rather than later, so that if she doesn’t know how to handle the situation if it happens again, she can have time to figure out a solution (talk to the dean, etc).

    I agree that the teacher lost control of the class: once one person starts taking over (err, that’s the 50-something classmate who has trouble listening), then the teacher’s lack of intervention allows another person to take over (err, that was you), which allows everyone else to join in (which is everyone else taking sides). I think that you need to let your teacher know that you will follow her lead (if other students were taking sides, that means that you have the potential opportunity to sway opinion/influence others actions by your example). Of course, it will be easier for both you and your teacher know *know* ahead of time that your teacher will handle a future incident: e.g. Ann’s executive stare or sending the perp to the corner for a time out (oh wrong age group).

    Oh, gracious. It’s sad that you are dealing with this, but don’t allow this lady to waste your energy.

  22. My first thought was “Does the instructor write the assignments on a white board as well as give them verbally?” My second thought was “Sit in the back row next week so you can watch everyone else! Make the offender have to look at you if it comes to that. That way you can walk out so much more easily if you just can’t take the pettiness.”

    I second (third, fourth…) emailing or talking to your instructor. If that doesn’t work, go up the ladder to get this resolved, “cause the pattern seems to have been set and needs extensive altering.

    Yup, 13th grade. Good luck.

  23. Having taken classes at BCCC, I can say that what you’re experiencing isn’t uncommon there. Prof. Leverette – one of the main faculty members in the Art department – spends a good part of the first class *every* semester lecturing students on proper behavior and his expectations, because he has gotten so accustomed to students who a) don’t care, b) don’t want to work, and c) don’t seem to have any idea what going to college – even community college – entails. I’ll echo a lot of others and say it starts with your teacher – when I’ve had teachers who knew how to stand up to the trouble makers and really keep a handle on the class, things have been so much better. Also, you might want to go to the Department Head in the Fashion Program, if the teacher is unwilling to help. Good luck – you may need it.

  24. Well, a lot has already been said, but here are my 2 cents. Your teacher is Eastern European. So am I. Eastern Europeans have (drilled into their heads from very young age) a different attitude towards age than Westerners, in the sense that we tend to attach a lot more respect to age than here in th US. I, for example, at 34, cannot twist my tongue and address my teacher (who is late 40s) by his first name (and he has allowed us to). That may explain why she cannot put her foot down. Every college though has some guidelines, e.g. whoever is 15 min late or more does not get to attend class, etc. My point, I suggest you talk with her first and if it does not work, with her superiors. After all, you have the right to get what you are paying for.

  25. Sometimes you just need to stand up to people like that. Of course you know the “bougie” comment tells you exactly where her self esteem is lacking. I’ve been through this in a sewing class before – and it takes a lot to get me upset. This girl was in another class that met on the other side of the room but was always leaving her stuff at my machine when she knew our class was coming in. I got tired of waiting for her to move her stuff and took out her thread and bobbin one day. She returns and starts giving me lip about being disrespectful because I removed her thread to put mine in. Note that our respective classes had already started, and the machine was clearly labeled with MY name and the class time. Ugh.
    Anyway… can the teacher give you assignments ahead of time (or additional extra credit projects) so you don’t have to go at the same pace as the rest of the class?

  26. Hrrmmm. I’m with nikki. I would have told her to shut the – up. And then I would be beating myself up for rising to the bait.

    I don’t know that I would go to all of the trouble to talk with the instructor, etc. I would probably attempt to ignore the woman or try to find humor in her complete irresponsibility. However, since you have risen to the bait at least twice and she is attacking the teacher, it might be time to do as everyone else has said.

    It’s so annoying when adults behave like junior high students.

  27. So sorry you had to go through that. It must seem as though you have wasted your money. It sounds to me as though that woman needs some personal instruction, I don’t suppose it would help to offer her some of your own time? I agree also with the idea that the instructor needs to provide written instructions for each assignment. Perhaps written for fifth grade level understanding.

  28. Stupid people suck. Don’t let her take the fun out of it for you. Easier said than done, I know. Want me to embroidery her something that says, “Shut up, you stupid cow”?

  29. Stupid people suck. Don’t let her take the fun out of it for you. Easier said than done, I know. Want me to embroider her something that says, “Shut up, you stupid cow”?

  30. I’m jumping back in here! Cidell, your readers are loyal and we’d probably get into an outright brawl in support of you if we were in your class! But that wouldn’t really resolve the problem. (But wouldn’t it make a great story, afterwards?!)

    The teacher can’t make this better. If she has the skills, she may be able to manage the remaining classes differently, but what’s done is done. The stupid people in your class aren’t going to become enlightened under the duress of discipline. They’ll choose drama over drafting any day!

    What. Do. You. Really. Want?

    The satisfactory resolution/answer to that question is never dependent on externals – people, circumstances, etc. Think about that. It can be uncomfortable, but sit with it.

    What. Do. You. Really. Want? Now go pursue that where it can be met and let the rest go.

  31. Cidell – I am not sure I can or will say it any differently than anyone else. Unfortunately some “adults” go to class to complain, while real adults go to learn. When I was getting my undergrad degree, I had a class on Thursday night – it was packed. Granted, we were ALL exhausted from working our day jobs and attending classes Monday-Wednesday night. My point is that the instructor was going over the syllabus, etc. and people started to complain that he was giving too much homework, etc. They started comparing his assignments to the other instructors and on and on. I sat there fuming…and embarrassed. While I did not stand up to the class and provide my input to the whiners, I merely stayed after class and apologized for my classmates (many of whom I did not know yet) and said that I was embarrassed to be in the same class as them. I was personally looking for an education and was willing to do the work for it. Something worked in my favor – I was the only A+ in that class that semester – and he doesn’t give those out easily.
    So maybe at the next class, you will be the bigger person and apologize to the difficult individual or maybe not. Maybe you will never speak to her again. I am sure there is no loss there….but in order for you to succeed and feel good about attending class is to talk to the instructor and see if you can work around everyone else. Propose “independent study” so that you don’t have to deal with those who choose not to be fully invested in the class. This way you can get what you want out of the class and everyone else gets what they want – course I am proud of you for standing up for yourself and telling the woman to stop wasting your time and money because that is truly what it is, your time and your money coupled with an intense desire to learn.
    However you deal with it…we are with you girl!!!

  32. Wow, I don’t think “Bougie” has made it to Canada yet, at least not Alberta I had to look it up too. Personally I would’ve taken such an epithet as a compliment – I *want* someone to call me that now! lol

    I think enough has been said by others no doubt wiser than myself, I’m just so sorry to hear this after your excited anticipation.

  33. Wow; what a difficult situation. Perhaps you might consider approaching the Director of the department about sitting in and observing the class; as you describe it, it sounds like this person’s behavior is consistently inappropriate and disruptive. In this kind of school/class situation one might expect a mixed bag of skill and personal motivation levels; however, personal conduct and common courtesy are the most basic of skills. Schools typically have policies about conduct during class and may not tolerate the behavior if they receive complaints. I am taking a night class on couture sewing techniques; I think the student age range is 19 to 62. Some of the students earn their living around their sewing skills; other students are beginners. I have been through college and grad school as have some of the others (lawyers and PhDs) and am taking the class for the joy of it and to learn some new skills; some of the students are first time college students working towards an associate’s degree in costume design or some other form of design, etc. Many of us come to class after a long day of work. The teacher does an incredible job of bridging the gap between the material and the skills/interests of the 30+ students in this college class. I cannot imagine anyone in the class speaking to her in the way you describe, and I doubt she would tolerate it. I can really see the dilemma in your situation; despite the situation, it sounds like there are some valuable things to learn in the class. You might really consider speaking up to the administration. It would be a shame to have this woman continue to ruin the experience for you! Linda

  34. I’ll just support you in standing up, it’s all been said.

    Unfortunately, some people see Project Runway and think that’s how it is. all the drama and fighting. Maybe it’s a full moon.

    Personally, good for you for standing up to her. I’d offer to back you up, but when the earrings come off, now, I think you got it.

  35. She called you bougie? You have my blessing to throw her down, ghetto-style. 😉

    • I know how you feel. I have a co-worker here like that.
      Just take this opportunity to learn from the experience and just ignore her from now on. Talk to the instructor and apologize if you feel you need to and leave it at that. the next time she argues with the instructor, i’m sure there someone from administration that can be brought in and intervene.

  36. Well, I hate stupid people so I totally feel ya. I also agree with bringing and ipod or another project to work on while waiting for the class. Knitting by the way is an excellent past time to keep you from feeling like you are wasting your time. I bring it with me always.

    Anyhoo, I hope you find a way to get your education AND keep the stupids at bay. In the end you will be wiser and they will still be asses :O)

  37. wow! i know exactly how you felt in that situation. i’ve had classmates try to pull the same crap on teachers because they were not prepared.

  38. It’s unfortunate that some people choose to be miserable and wish to make everyone around them miserable. I feel your frustration. I’m sure this class wasn’t cheap, and I find it amazing that people willingly signed up for it and then complain about the work associated with it. I do think you should discuss the situation with the teacher. Your tuition is paying her salary. I’ve never been a teacher, but I know it’s not an easy job. However, it’s her responsibility to take control of her class, set the tone, and try to ensure that everyone benefits from their investment. That’s part of what you’re paying for. Hang in there!

  39. Good grief, don’t people ever grow up? I can’t believe a grown woman is wasting class time like that. Sorry you’re having a rotten experience.

  40. It sounds like the 13th graders aren’t considering their time and money seriously. Just from reading your blog and viewing your awesome sewing skills, it appears that you have a passion for fashion and design. I went to design school in my early 40’s. After raising my son, I thought it was time for me to do something for me. All the students were way much younger, and not all were mature enough to manage their time wisely. When you are older, you have less of it to spare. So you tend to take advantage of every moment you have towards your goals. The lady that was rude to you is most likely just frustrated that she isn’t grasping the skills as quickly. As a suggestion maybe you could speak to your instructor, and offer to be a student aid in her class. She may in exchange teach you some advance skills you wouldn’t otherwise get in this beginner’s course. Plus when you go over the techniques while showing someone else how it is done, you reiterate what have just learn and build confidence in your skills. As far as the rude lady, sometimes it is better to take the high road. She may in turn realize how wrong she was, and apologize for her mistake. Who knows, she may even have something positive to give back to the class. Good luck, and keep up with the good that you do!

  41. You sound tired and you’ve got every reason to be. Good luck getting what you want out of this class, I know it’s important to you. I hope you can recover from the stress and trust your good sense to figure out the survival steps necessary. I am sure you can get through this if you really think there’s a way to do it. Sad situation.

  42. You have already gotten a lot of good advise from people who truly care about you. So, the only thing I can add is to not let one rude person keep you from following your dream.

  43. Boy that stinks! I’m familiar with it as I feel the same way when I take classes now – it’s “bidness time”. I’m very outspoken and I also try very hard to live my life with one fundamental thing always in mind – own my own sh*t. I have short patience with folks who won’t own up to what their responsibilities are – especially when they’re older than me (I’m 37 so I don’t think I’m expecting too much). If I didn’t say something I would explode – literally. There would be little exasperated Rachel bits everywhere. The teacher definitely needs to rise to the occasion – what did she think it was going to be like? Have to keep the class to the syllabus (roughly) or else you’re just taking money and wasting time. I think that folks that have to work full-time while taking a class (all I ever did) have a very, very different expectation of what they want to take away. Hang in there!!

  44. I think you showed great restraint. I’m afraid I would have decked her 🙂 I’m over 50 myself, and there is no excuse for that kind of behavior. I run in to these types (regardless of age) in almost every sewing class I’ve ever taken (not at the college level). There’s one in every class…my DH and my little joke. You’ve gotten lots of good advice. Don’t let it spoil the class. I wish I could take something like that in my area. I do think the instructor has the responsibility to take charge—she needs that experience!

  45. I am glad you provided a link to the word “bougie” so I would know how it’s pronounced. I would have thought it was pronounced like “boogy” with a hard g, as if one has one hanging out of one’s nose or something.

    I had a hard time at school today too. I had to help somebody with an assignment yesterday that was too hard, I thought. The assignment was to solve the global financial crisis. The student was a young woman at a community college with four children, including one on her knee while she was writing the paper. That’s just too hard. But I got in trouble for saying that no community college student should be expected to solve the global financial crisis after six weeks of Econ 101. That would be insulting to the teacher, you know.

  46. hey Cidell,

    Just wanted to add my support. This is your dream – don’t let this narrow minded, rude and ignorant woman take it away from you.

    It’s so frustrating, especially if you locale has little in the way of teaching options for sewing related courses.

    I have to admit I’d probably have taken the bait too, but in my last class there was a woman who was positively unpleasant every time she opened her mouth. After a few weeks I went with uber-niceness (which was very difficult through gritted teeth) but it did diffuse the situation a little.

    I’m hoping your next class is more fun.

  47. I haven’t read the comments, which I usually do before adding mine, but I find this so depressing because I just miss the civility of growing up at a time when you could expect so much more courtesy and co-operation from people. This incident just underscores how crazy it’s getting out there. It a dang shame that the world is so full of difficult, “entitled” people that you can’t participate in something that was supposed to be a very satisfying thing, but it’s been sullied by the increasing number of “crazies” out there. I’m so bummed on your behalf. (I probably feel compelled to comment again after I read the other comments!)

  48. I don’t think in your place I’d run off and complain to the department head quite yet. Yes, the teacher lost control of her class. Once. Don’t make it even worse for her by snitching the first time it happens. Consider she’s being paid a lot less than her peers because she has worse students.

    I think you’d get a lot further by going to her office hours (or making an appointment, or calling her) and sympathizing with how hard it is to teach lazy knuckleheads :-). It probably wouldn’t hurt to outright apologize for disrupting the class further by losing your temper too. Help her strategize about how to deal with the schmuck.

    Act like the grownup, and she’ll be glad to support you more strongly next time. Grownup isn’t an age thing…

    And for yourself, think of ways to amuse yourself productively while the poor woman has to deal with -all- her students on their level, whatever it may be. The remedial math thing with the ruler sounds good actually, maybe you could just appoint yourself TA and try your hand at a little background remedial teaching? If you’re serious about making sewing your profession, you’re going to find yourself in those shoes soon enough, one way or the other..

  49. I stopped by to get an update on the latest class review and horrified at the events that has taken place. I must admit that while reading all the comments I had a good chuckle, but putting that aside I agree that you did the right thing and that woman should be ashamed of her dayumm self. Not only is she wasting your time and money… She is keeping me from getting a wealth of info from your class review.

    I hope all works out and you can enjoy your class from here on out.

    psst… when is the next class review…lol

  50. It’s good that you had it out with her once. Now try to ignore her or talk to the teacher privately or speak to the administration.

    I thought several times that it’s too bad you can’t take classes at FIT. I take them at night. Most of the students aren’t particularly friendly, but they are extremely businesslike and directed. They usually come to classes early. Most of the teachers don’t have office hours so you have to make the most of the class time.

    There are intensive sessions in the summer and winter. Normally I wouldn’t recommend taking patternmaking, but you can sew and already will have have a background in patternmaking. Otherwise, it’s a killer.

    I had a situation with a low-class black person with no manners (if being intelligent, well-educated and well-mannered makes me a “bougie” than so be it). The conflict wasn’t over the class, but her demeanor. With three minutes of knowing me she started pumping me for information about my racial identity, my religion, my marital status, my politics.

    Finally, I said, You can end up offending someone by asking so many questions. If they’re reticient and don’t reciprocate you should take the hint. I’m trying to help.

    Then she said she didn’t like Hillary Clinton because “she was a housewife.” I told her she didn’t know what she was talking about.
    (This woman went to a reasonably good college. She was a moron.)

    After that we scarcely spoke.

  51. I’m all late on this one, but I am so happy to hear that things worked out for you, Cidell. You did the right thing in both checking that student and communicating with the instructor. And it looks like you have a new found respect from your fellow students–street cred goes far, LOL!

  52. That was (and is) a very tough situation and sometimes, we do “lose control? I’m like you, when I pay for a class and especially coming after work (in your case leaving your job and maybe having to go back to work)–it’s already a long day. And the serious-minded folk don’t have time for such foolishness.

    I’ve learned: there’s a BOZO in every class (I’m old enough to remember Bozo as a kid). They thrive off of making the serious minded people like you mad, upset because they know that they aren’t like that.

    They always want to blame someone else for their negligence. It’s a shame that in general, places of learning don’t even do what they especially were once charged to do: DISCIPLINE AND CORRECT FOOLS.

    If this lady is that disruptive and out of control, SHE should be the one walking..not you or anybody else. She should be kicked out. That kind of foolishness should not be tolerated.

    I realize that I am saying this at the risk of some even being mad at me. It may even sound “old fashioned,” but it is one of many ways of dealing with fools.

    I hope that she doesn’t disturb your learning experience again. Take care and I appreciate your being candid and sharing this.

  53. Whoo hoo, have I been there. I attend a community college that seems to attract a large amount of total nutters. Mostly older women who do not know how to properly interact with others or in a class setting. I usually end up taking the bait one time. ONE TIME. Then I wash my hands of that mess. Every semester I have at least one “altercation” with somebody.

    No matter how much you beat yourself up about getting into it with her, I think you did the right thing. Too often they continue to act the way they do because everyone tolerates it. Its not mine or your job to tell them they are acting in an inappropriate manner, but it is my right to stand up for my time that they are WASTING.

  54. I knew it was happen sooner or later. I too had a similar experience. The instructor spent lots of time teaching how to read a ruler and controlling the class. Your approach to the situation was on point. Sometimes, you have to teach people how to treat you. You go girl.

    Stay focused, you’ll get thru it.

  55. Some people never grow up (and of course you know I don’t mean you, Cidell!)

    There’s really no excuse for that kind of rudeness to an instructor … or classmate, for that matter.

  56. I’m coming late to the conversation but I would like to commend you on interrupting the student’s tirade against the teacher. It sounds like the others were allowing her to bully the teacher. It’s unfortunate that the teacher wasn’t better able to handle the situation in that moment. This student wanted to leak her pain (embarrassment most likely) and deflect attention from herself so she aimed it at the teacher and then you.

    I admire both your courage in standing up to the bully and that you felt your skills were lacking/you weren’t at your best and you shared the experience on your blog (and one more: that you were willing to own your “own stuff” and apologize to the teacher”). Brava!

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