(Long rant. I’m taking advantage of the extended entry. You deserve a prize if you make it through the whole thing.)
I knew it wasn’t going to be a good day when I woke up after about 2 hours of sleep. Yes, 2 hours of sleep. My head was racing non-stop with so many things I needed to do. I could never really get settled in. I tossed, turned, and watched the clock all night.
I felt like a zombie for half the day today, and a moody zombie at that. Then I had my photography bubble popped.
Then my photography teacher made a rather asshat comment as I left the class today. This girl, who isn’t even shooting photos with the right film after a whole semester in the class, was asking him a question; she wanted to know if 60 divided by 12 was 5. Not even thinking (zombie state), I said yes. I realized that the words in my head had come out of my mouth, and I immediately apologized because I could tell from the look on his face that it had really pissed him off. He said, “THANK YOU, but this IS MY CLASS.”
Uh, ok, I know that. You’re the one that grades the papers and gets paid for being there. I’m the one that gets the grades and turns in assignments. Yep, pretty clear to me that it is your class.
I tried to shake it off. I knew I was tired and edgy, so there was no point in stressing over it. I went into the darkroom, I finished most of my portfolio prints, and I came out to leave when class was over. I was cordial to him, and I thought the moment had passed.
That was until he stopped me as I left – I was the last person to leave thanks to having my giant Biology scavenger hunt box with me – and he said it to me again. That it has really bothered him; that no matter how much I think I know about photography, and how much I might in fact know, it is still HIS class. He would appreciate it if I remembered this.
I was stunned. First of all, we only have 3 days left in the semester, and then he will be done with me. So was there a need for a confrontation? I don’t think so. Second, I said the word “yes” to a math problem. It isn’t like I was telling her how to print her film – I couldn’t begin to do that, since it isn’t the right film anyways. (There is black & white film out that you can buy and have printed at a regular store lab after you shoot it – we use different film and different chemicals for our class.) Last but not least, I definitely do NOT think that I know it all when it comes to photography. I think that learning is a lifetime process, and no matter how much I know about photography, there is always so much more to learn. I could take classes every day for 10 years and still not know it all.
I, of course, started to cry. Why? Because that is how I react to anyone that I seek approval from when they talk to me like this. I prefer to handle these situations over the phone (I can hide the crying better) or via e-mail where I can hide it completely. In person? After 2 hours of sleep? I knew the second that he stopped me that I was going to fall apart.
I was right.
I went on to apologize, trying to explain that I said yes before I could stop myself, and I was really sorry for doing that. That was when he made the comment about me thinking that I knew it all, and that it was his class. I stammered. I took a deep breath. I told him that that was not the case at all, I did not feel that way. He said that was how I had acted. I said again that that was not how I felt. He said that maybe he was reading something wrong, because that was definitely the impression he got. I told him that I was sorry if that was the impression he got, because it was not how I felt. I apologized again, as the tears flowed.
Then I turned and walked away. I didn’t know what else to say, and I knew I was going to be a sobbing mess if I didn’t escape fast. Hell, I’m crying now just typing this, and it happened almost 10 hours ago.
I tried to calm down as I headed to the Biology room, but I wasn’t very successful. As soon as I got there, my lab partner saw that I was upset. He asked what was wrong, and let me rant about it. I needed that, but it didn’t help much. I was glad that the teacher had us give our presentation first, because I kept welling up with tears over the next 3 hours.
UGH. I hate it when I’m all funky and emotional like this. And I hate it when things like this make me cry, because the photography teacher probably thinks I was sad and hurt, when the reality is that I am bitter, mad, and angry about it.
You know what probably makes me the most angry? The fact that I’ve complained all semester long on how he doesn’t give us critiques, we get no feedback – if I made a “B” on a print, I couldn’t tell you why. Nothing. I get a score on a number of elements, but they mean nothing if you never tell me what to improve. I’ve been very disappointed about this class because I actually know I have a lot to learn, and I had hoped that I would have the opportunity to do so by taking the class. Instead, I have really learned almost nothing. I got to go back into the darkroom after 20 years, which has been fabulous. I got to learn how to develop film again. Other than that? I am walking away with no new knowledge.
Maybe that is why he thinks I think that I know it all? Because in reality he has taught me nothing new, really? I do know everything he has taught in this class. I don’t regret taking it, because it was more exciting for me then taking Art Appreciation or Art History. (I am required to take a 3-hour art class, no matter what my degree plan. Well rounded students and all.)
Maybe he took my comment about wanting to get an enlarger since I can’t take Photo II the wrong way? I’ve wanted to own an enlarger and have my own darkroom for as long as I could remember. When we looked at our house before buying it, one of my first comments was on the odd 2nd bathroom upstairs and how I could turn it into a darkroom because there are no windows in it. I would have bought Hanna’s darkroom equipment when she sold it if I could have. As far as the class, I do not need any more electives, and taking Photo II does not work with my schedule for next year. If I could make it happen, I would take the course at a different campus, because I don’t think he is teaching much in his Photo II course either. They do a little work with studio lighting, and that is it. I desperate want a good flash for my camera and a class on how to use it – which I might just have to take through one of the camera shops in town.
Anyways, back to the original issue … I’ve cried at least once an hour since noon today. It is now close to 10 pm. What is up with that? Really? I’ve had enough. No more crying. Enough!
Oh, and the fun thing? I don’t have class tomorrow, but with limited darkroom time on Thursday, I may go in tomorrow morning to develop film and one or two prints if possible. I will keep my mouth shut as much as possible and my head down. I have no desire for any more conflict.
I keep debating about sending him an e-mail to apologize again, because I want to know what I have said that has him so wound up. I can’t believe that a “yes” to a math question would have set him off like that. At the same time, I know I’m still too emotional and it probably wouldn’t be a good thing. My Mom always told me that if you didn’t want someone to use your words against you, you shouldn’t write them down. (See, Mom? I was paying attention to your wise words of wisdom!) I’m afraid I would write something I would either regret or that would be twisted out of context, and either way … it is better if I just keep my thoughts to myself.
I will silently mock the fact that over at RateMyProfessor.com he has a horrible rating. The frequent complaint? That no one has any idea what his grading system is and he never gives feedback on prints so you can’t really learn anything. Seems I’m not the only one with that issue.
I feel like my photographic bubble has been burst. That is a really sad feeling when you love something as much as I love photography.