Lessons on empathy
A while back in class I noticed an unfamiliar student sitting toward the door who timidly wanted to give an analogy to a movie in our short fiction class. The professor, whose abrasive manner of speaking caught my attention since day one, immediately shut him down, cut off what he had to say. He was adamant and continued to spit it out, but she didn't want to hear it. Later she allowed an analogy about sports to be mentioned in class and that irked me.
I paid close attention to the guy's body language and his face when he was basically told to shut up. He was nervous and felt intimidated. After our break, I notice the guy didn't come back. So I was now pissed for him and had to say something about the prof's mouth. Luckily, she sent out a class email which mentioned another student who was abrasively told something by the professor and the email was basically an apology to her and to anyone else who may have been offended by her manner of speaking that day.
I felt that was my chance to let her know how she comes off in class. I politely replied saying "To be honest, you don't give people a chance to talk and in a college classroom you should give students respect if you intend to get respect, or you will notice students will do poorly in assignments, attendance and eventually drop the class."
On Wednesday, she asked to talk to me after class about why I am unhappy with her and the course. I explained I wasn't unhappy with her but I would like to talk to her about how she comes off in class. Very nervously, I told her what I noticed that day and how bad it hurt me and one of the first things she said was it is admirable to have people who would not only contact the teacher about how they are in class, but defend someone I thought was being wronged.
The guy btw wasn't a student in our class but is a student who takes just about every class she teaches. He was simply sitting in that day why he seemed unfamiliar.
She's a very emotional teacher, she cried on the first day after viewing a favorite movie of hers. she started to tear up after she talked about what I did for that guy. I wanted to tell her not to cry because I was gonna cry, but she held it together.
She explained that abrasiveness is all part of her Brooklyness and that is just how she comes across, but she expressed that if anybody had a problem with how she speaks to please let her know because if she had to she would make a public apology. I told her I didn't hate her, or the course but I wanted to put that out there as people who interrupt another when speaking is my number 2 pet peeve after people spelling my name with an H.
We had a heart to heart. I explained some things. She said I didn't appear to be from Brooklyn, that's because in public with people I dunno, I am very shy, timid and well spoken. Once you get to know me, I'm actin' a hot ass mess, especially at home. We traded stories and I got to see what a great person she is. She commented on my level of maturity and we parted ways.