Uni bums are so busy
they don’t wipe the toilet seat
when they’re done
I wrote that poem several classes ago. I was at the peak of my frustration at University: colleagues weren’t contributing to class discussions or even undertaking the minimum set reading for the week and those who did speak were so off topic I might as well have stayed home to work on assessment that should have been covered in greater detail in the classroom. And then there were the silent students who sat there with their laptops/notebooks/paper weights who were obviously not reading the unit’s lecture slides.
Fortunately, there were rare folk who did try and help the facilitator survive the awkward bullshit by answering questions and regurgitating lines from the reader.
Unfortunately, the facilitator would exploit the rare folk because he/she/it knew that they will respond with something more elaborate than ‘I didn’t like it’ or ‘I was busy’.
Ultimately, it is the rare folk who actually glean something from this prolonged agony. Realising this is sad, and obvious, but it begs the question: does this style of teaching actually work? Well it does when every student does their bit. So it’s the students’ fault? Sort of.
Another factor to consider is the ratio of students-to-teacher. In TAFE we had groups range from 8-15, but never more than 20. The exception was when we had a guest speaker but even then the group was harmonious. Every student was passionate and we all worked together as one cohesive unit. There was always that individual who rebelled against the group consensus but even then everybody knew everybody and learning was embraced, not ignored.
University classrooms, however, are crammed with students. Last year conditions were so dire that people had to nick chairs and tables from next door. As for their enthusiasm, or lack thereof, there’s much to be desired. A common reason for these guys sitting in a classroom is ‘I had to do this to get my degree’ or ‘there was nothing else’. This line of reasoning obviously demoralises the facilitator and weakens his/her/its resolve to improve the studying standards and reputation of the institution. And there’s only so much you can do to flog a dead horse or castrate a smurf.
So, what the hell are these other people doing at University, really? They can’t even use a dunny without leaving a mess.
How hard is it to wipe urine off the seat?
How busy can you possibly be not to wipe a smidgen of poo from inside the bowl so that the next toileteer doesn’t retch?
Congratulations you successfully excreted and stank up the cubicle; why didn’t you flush?
These were the questions piling up between my ears in the final weeks of semester one this year.
If I have learnt anything new from my ‘higher education’ experience it’s this: inspiration and betterment can come from the smelliest of places.