My little special snowflakes have been slacking, so I had to put on my Mean Mommy hat and do a pop quiz on the assigned readings. I then graded the quizzes while the class was in session, which got everyone’s attention in a hurry.
On top of the humiliation, I added a pinch of guilt: “You know, I really tried to do everyone a favor by making photocopies of the readings instead of making you all purchase the $130 textbook. I know what it’s like to spend $600 at the bookstore every semester.”
I continued to grade, wincing audibly.
One boy meekly raised his hand.
“Yes, Mr. Smith?” I call my students by their last names when I’m handing out lumps. I used to call them by their last names all the time, but the student body at my college is so ethnically diverse that I often can’t pronounce their names, so first names it is (nobody likes hearing their name mispronounced, and if it’s done more than a few times it becomes disrespectful).
“Uh…how much is this quiz going to be worth?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“That’s kind of harsh,” he said.
I gestured toward the syllabus, aka my 17-page legal document covering my ass. The syllabus says that pop quizzes are administered at my discretion, typically as a mechanism for me to discern who is doing the reading and who is shirking.
Everyone looked miserable. I saw a few of them exchanging sad glances.
I finished the grading and stacked the papers in a pile in front of me. You could have heard a pin drop.
Time for more another portion of shame:
“I’m very disappointed. These quizzes make me sad.”
It’s a feminine tactic, but manipulation via guilt is often more effective than wrath.
Then, to restore the goodwill and rapport between us, and make them feel gratitude towards me instead of anger:
“Look, guys, I’m not going to grade these this time. I want you to do well, and you can’t do that if you don’t do the readings. I don’t want you to flunk the midterm. I want you to get a good grade so that you can graduate and get out of here. Please do the reading. You’re killing me over here.”
Like the Supreme Court, Instructor Adler giveth, and Instructor Adler taketh away. My students visibly relaxed. Big smiles.
“Thanks,” said one of them, completely forgiving, and forgetting, that I had just been torturing him.
“My pleasure,” I said.
Then everyone wanted to participate in the classroom discussion. It was great.
See? That wasn’t so harsh, Mr. Smith. Would you like to see harsh?
I’d give my last personal slave, No. 29, homework assignments, all of which were constructed to improve him and cultivate his understanding of servitude. He was responsible and a pretty good student–his grades were better than mine when I was an undergraduate, actually–so he usually did the assignments and showed up ready to discuss them.
One time he didn’t, and furthermore, he lied to me about it. Big no-no. Bad idea, No. 29.
I figured it out when I was quizzing him and he couldn’t answer my questions. He was giving me ambiguous, vague answers.
I went to my gear bag and retrieved a heavy-duty leather hood, the type that laces up the back and has removable pieces for the eyes and the mouth. It was really an awesome hood, great for sensory deprivation, and best of all, the removable portions and the hood itself could be locked on the wearer with little masterlocks. I miss that hood. I lost it in a taxi cab in Las Vegas.
I picked the hood because No. 29 was mildly claustrophobic and he didn’t like the hood. Oh no, No. 29 didn’t like that hood at alllllll.
“Keep talking, my boy, while I hood you like a falcon,” I said.
|Property. Waiting to be Summoned.|
He rambled while I laced the hood up tightly. I left off the blindfold and the hole for the mouth.