Flashback Friday: New Ways to Be Judgmental

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Today I was an interviewer for the mock interviews that are held in the Education Department. I’m not sure why I do this every semester but I suspect it has something to do with the director of the program being the mother of children I babysat for for my first babysitting job. Though we’re colleagues now, she’ll always be the grown-up and despite six years of therapy, I will always be the child who wants to please grown-ups. I’ll watch “Dukes of Hazzard” and “The Incredible Hulk” with your children; I’ll be a mock interviewer for your students. Just give me a hoop to jump thru and the promise of a pat on the head, and I’m there.

I dropped my own Ed major after six weeks in my first Education class as an undergrad. The terminology bored me and the prof talked too slowly. I had no interest in wasting precious moments learning things I didn’t care about when, instead, I could be reading Thomas Hardy and Sylvia Plath. I had no real vision of what a non-education English major career might be, but saying goodbye to terms like “differentiation” and “rubric” was worth every time after I announced the major change that I had to hear my father say, “What? Are you going to be a professional college student?”

I have often wondered if perhaps I wasn’t a bit hasty in dropping the Ed major, but today proved that I made the right choice. A fourth of the time I had no idea what my partner-interviewer or the interviewees were talking about. Learning Mandarin would be easier. Sometimes I feel annoyed by the terms because a perfectly good word like “artifact” which _should_ conjure images of the pyramid that has just been discovered in Bosnia-Herzegovina instead means, essentially, “photos of 4th grade art projects and math worksheets.”

Also, the director kept referring to items on a the question sheet that were “bolded.” I hate when un-poetic words get made up. Made-up poetic words I like. Today, a student shared with me her word for the desire of girls and young women to make real their Disney fairy tale fantasies. She calls it “princessing.” Now that is a good made-up word. She is now getting a divorce and is thus, one assumes, in the final throes of being de-princessed.

There are other reasons I don’t like participating in the mock interviews. Like I hate fake stuff. Like I hate “rating” people. Like sometimes it is difficult for me to stay focused if I’m not interested in something. So for instance, on the comment sheet I filled out after each interview, instead of commenting on their presentations and examples, I found myself wanting to write helpful tidbits like, “Honey, you are over-plucking your eyebrows. It makes you look hard” or “Your hair is overprocessed–pick a color and stick with it.” This is information that I think they need–and having just watched five back-to-back episodes of “What Not to Wear” I feel qualified to give it–but in the interest of professionalism, I restrained myself and responded instead to the next bolded question.

Possibly it is a good thing I don’t have children because the other thing I realized is that I am now so old that these soon-to-be teachers seem much too young to be teaching. If I were a mother I’d have to quit my job so I could home school. On the positive side, in my home school, there would be no differentiation or rubric talk. To my credit, I would limit the princessing.

To reward myself for all of my hard interviewing work, I spent a half hour on iTunes planning the music I would download after my next pay day. While there, I discovered Celebrity Playlists and a whole new way to be judgmental. I surfed through the playlists of various celebs to see who listens to what and their comments about why X is the best song ever. My assumption, initially, was that I’d learn what music is cool in Hollywood. Instead, I lost respect for people I’d previously never had an opinion about. For instance, what would possess Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick to post together and tell us their favorite sex song. I’ve always thought they were a cool couple, but somehow their need to post together annoyed me. Ditto Courtney Cox and David Arquette. (Who’s watching Coco while they’re playing around on the internet, telling us what a good road trip song “Free Bird” is?) I had high hopes for Bill Mahr but he disappointed me. What’s worse, the people I admired who had playlists I would make myself? Well, suddenly they seemed less cool. Shouldn’t they like things beyond the scope of what I (a mere mortal) have access to? To misquote Groucho Marx, I don’t want to be a memeber of a club that will let me play my own music.

I liked Nicole Kidman’s. I can’t say why exactly. It might just be a need to support her in these dark days following the birth of her children’s half-sibling/alien, but I appreciated that she had some Lenny Kravitz on her list and wasn’t pretending he never existed for her. I also liked that Elvis Costello had himself on his own list. Because you know all the musicians were wanting to do that. They were DYING to do it. But it takes a guy in horn-rimmed glasses to pull it off with any kind of panache.

Perhaps in the next six years my shrink and I can work on me becoming the kind of person who would put her music (if she made music) on her own playlist.

2 responses »

  1. I didn’t know what ‘rubric’ meant. After looking it up, I realise it’s nothing to do with twiddling around a cube of coloured squares. I hope you won’t be too judgmental. 🙂

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