Dear J, D, C and J,
Today in class, I slipped and called you idiots. You are not idiots, and I apologize for that.What I intended to express was that, because you are not in fact idiots, you should not act in such ways that degrade your own intelligence and capability. All three of you were not acting like students today.You were listening to your classmate present, but instead of showing him support by remaining quiet until there was a chance to ask questions, you continued to talk under your breath during his presentation. The person at the front of the room can’t hear what you are saying, and it could affect their confidence and their ability to make their best presentation. Watching this happen was very frustrating to me, and yet there was no time to interrupt the presentation to correct this juvenile behavior, and I didn’t want to throw the student off even more by stopping his speech. So by the time I called you the name, I was very frustrated with your behavior.
In addition, there was continued chatting and even whistling as I was going around trying to get the class going on the in-class essay. Time was very short for this assignment because I changed my plans to accommodate you classmate’s presentation, and I was in disbelief that you would be so callous as to continue the disruptive behavior as people were trying to work. Besides that, one of the people being disruptive was someone that I was personally trying to help by sharpening a pencil and lending it to him. It seemed extremely disrespectful and ungrateful, not to mention completely in disregard of other students, to be whistling. Another of you has often whistled and made random noises during other such moments, and so that was the first person I addressed.
However, none of this really excuses namecalling. I just want you to understand how much I want you to do the work and move on in life, perhaps with better skills than before.
What I intended to express, and what did not come out correctly, was that you are behaving in an idiotic manner, and that you and your minds deserve better. You deserve to complete the work and learn, and the way you are behaving only diminishes your opportunity, but also I want you to respect yourself a little more. I’ve been teaching a long time, and I have been shown both respect and disrespect by hundreds if not thousands of students, and what I have come to understand is that most of the frustration I feel in these situations is not so much because you are disobeying me, but more because my highest wish for you is to give yourself and your classmates the opportunity to do your best work. When I don’t see that happening, I respond intensely.
Anyway, I sincerely apologize and hope that you can understand what my real intentions were and forgive me.