Classmate Crisis: dealing with individuals

Abby Carlin, Columnist

Lately, I have been at a crossroads. As an education major, a future teacher, I feel pressured to make positive connections and acquaintances in every space that I’m in. To be a teacher is to be fair, nonjudgmental and patient. 

I feel like I can be fair. I can withhold judgement. These things are not difficult. Patience, on the other hand, can be a challenge. 

Oddly enough, I do not worry about being patient with my students. Having positive relationships with students is not a walk in the park, but it’s a part of the calling. One either connects with the future of America or they do not. Easy enough. What is not so clearly defined is the expectation to get along and play nice with all the other teachers. 

This thought has been click-clacking around my brain for a while. 

It was early in my college career when I encountered the bane of my existence and the one who would later lead me to question my ability to be a good teacher. 

For privacy’s sake, let’s call him John. John was rude to the professors, slept in class, complained all the time, was always eager to challenge the professor and would never contribute to group projects. 

In fact, he prided himself on never having to because “people always gave in.”

In short, John was the worst, but I never felt forced to have a professional or civil relationship with him. I avoided him like the plague and, by the grace of a higher power, he graduated and I will never see him again. 

Or so I thought.

Recently, life has brought another John into my life. 

For clarity’s sake, we’ll call him John #2. John #2, while not the type to fall asleep in class, is the absolute antithesis of all that I believe is good and decent. Worst of all, his problematic tendencies are always directed toward women, which is especially annoying (yet not uncommon) in professional spaces. 

So what am I to do? What are any of us expected to do when we are confronted with an individual who, in almost every sense, is an “equal,” but drives us bananas? At this point, I do not have anything concrete to support my annoyances, and most pressing, being aggravating is not something someone can be punished for. 

Unfortunately, the world is filled with people we would rather avoid; Republicans vs Democrats, Vegetarians vs Ron Swanson idolizers, and Apple vs Android, for example. Jokes aside, people who really seem to be in opposition to one another are so for reasons that are more ill defined, yet one truth remains the same, and it is that people cannot always be friends. 

Going forward, I can only try to be the best teacher, columnist, poet, and authentic self that I can possibly be. I can defend myself when need be, and I can do my best to keep company with those who will challenge and inspire me to be the best version of myself. 

And for John and John #2, I wish them the same thing (and soon, I do not know how much longer I can stand the latter).

Abby Carlin is a senior English language arts major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].