immiZINE

Issue 01: Ageism
The 2005 entries were originally written for the journal I kept in WST 3015/Intro to Women's Studies. They have been modified slightly since then.

2005 November 27, 3:53 pm

In the class period before my nonfiction class, a composition class used the room we used. I didn't know their teacher's name, but I'll call him Mr. Teacher.

After over a dozen composition students walked out of the room, I stood up with several other people from my class. We were still laughing and talking as we walked in, prepared to go to our accustomed seats and continue the conversation.

Mr. Teacher, who had been talking with a couple students, glared at us and started yelling. "You need to wait outside, this class isn't finished! You can't just come in here carrying on like that! Unless you can be quiet, you need to get out!" and stuff like that. I was surprised that he was making so much eye contact with me, but I guess it was because I tend to talk loudly and might've stood out for that.

Now, that teacher didn't look much older than us, maybe by fifteen years, but it still wasn't a big gap. We were all adults in there, yet he was yelling at us like we were his little kids. I said, "Sorry, we didn't know it wasn't over." I didn't say it rudely, but I didn't say it very sincerely either. I don't really know how to describe the noise I made as I left with most of the group, a sort of spitty "pffft— you've got to be kidding!" sound, and burst out laughing as we were closing the door.

"Who does he think he is?" one of the boys said.

"I don't know, but he's on a power trip!"

We really weren't taking him seriously because of the way he said it. First of all, if he had dismissed his class, how could class still be in session? Maybe he has his own rule that it's not over until the teacher leaves the room? Secondly, it was actually past the time allocated for his class, so we thought we had every right to enter the room for our own. The main reason, though, is that he didn't respectfully ask us to leave the room. He could have said, "Would you mind keeping it down? I'm trying to talk to one of my students" or "Could you please wait outside while we finish? Thank you." Instead, he raised his voice to us.

I don't know how much of it might've had to do with the fact that one of these loud people was a young woman, and I probably look even younger because I'm petite. Maybe he didn't even think if us as fellow adults, or maybe he just thought "I'm faculty and you're a student so I get to tell you what to do." If someone wants our respect, they have to treat us with respect. I'm not going to simper and curl up and say, "We're so sorry, we didn't mean to" just because someone has more authority and says it meanly. I was very proud of myself for not backing down as much as he might've expected or how I might've in the past. For the sake of continuing our conversation at whatever volume we chose, and to be able to laugh without causing a scene with him, we left the room. He did get what he wanted, but sorry, Mr. Teacher— you didn't win the moral victory there.

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This e-zine copyright © 2006 Immora. All other properties are copyright to their respective holders. E-zine originally created as a service learning project for WST 3930/Third Wave Feminisms. Project started on March 18 2006.