I had a bad day.

I woke up in the middle of a dream and that made my super groggy for quite a bit of the morning. I nicked myself while shaving. My computer hung on me, causing me to redo the test paper that I only had to do because of a guy who’s a lazy piece of shit.

But this story isn’t about me. It’s about the guy that I just called a lazy piece of shit.

Just a few months ago, I met L (let’s call him L which is the first letter for…you make a guess). L’s a student in the adult class which is basically aimed at allowing working adults who don’t already have a diploma to work towards getting one. Now, the program is not easy- students take three modules per semester and upon passing each semester, they obtain a certificate. If they successfully complete all five semesters, they obtain their diploma which presumably then allows their employers to promote them or pay them more. This is true, at least, for the civil service where most of these adult learners come from. This is also why the entire course is heavily subsidised using public funds.

The modules are almost what our full time students study over one if not, two semesters except it’s compressed into one evening a week. On top of that, these adult students have to juggle their work and family commitments as well. I really salute the bulk of the class who came for every one of my lessons and was thoroughly engaged. On top of just showing up for class, the really good ones also prepared well for the assignments and tests. This was pretty evident from their work as well as the test scores.

Then of course, there is also someone like L.

L has a disability that robs him of certain motor skills and bodily functions. I heard stories about this guy from colleagues that taught him the semester before but I really tried very hard not to let that cloud my own judgment.

However, the first two things that he said to me really brought home all the stories that I heard about him. The first thing he told me was that he has a disability and the second thing was that he’s bad at math. I tried telling him that basic arithmetic is all he needs to know in this course and any calculations can be done with a calculator but did he listen? Nope, he just kept telling me that he’s bad at math. I think any sympathy I had for the fella went out of the window at that point.

Anyway, he failed badly on my test and I left the second half of the module to my colleague. Honestly, somewhere deep down I thought that I might have been biased against him but thankfully for me, he bombed on the second half of the module as well.

And this is where it gets interesting. My colleague actually had a pretty good impression of him after the first lesson she had with him because he was pretty up to date with all the current unemployment and inflation figures. Well, that also went out the window pretty quickly. What I heard from her was that just like my lessons, he barely seemed to try in class. Even on the individual presentation, he almost didn’t want to go up to present.

So this brings us to the question of the day- What do you do when Life gives you a shitty hand?

I tend to believe that Life is more a game of skill than luck. Sure, some of us may be born in more fortunate circumstances than others (I, for one, did win the lottery of life) and most of us would definitely have been born without some terrible disability or would go through life without meeting with some terrible accident that robs us of some bodily function.

So what would you do if you were like L?

You could always draw people’s attention to the fact that you’re not playing on the same playing field. Sure, that might work. But for how long? And under what circumstances?

Telling me that you have a disability isn’t going to make me lower my standards. I still have to make sure that those who pass my module passed it on their own effort. Just telling me that you have a disability isn’t going to make things better. I’m not God or Jesus or a doctor. I don’t have a clue how to make your disability better.

A smarter way, I think, would be figure out how to overcompensate for the things you can’t do. If you can’t see the slides, get them printed bigger. If you need someone to repeat it, ask. Or better yet, get a tape recorder so you can listen to it over and over again. If you knew you had a test coming, prepare. If you need more hours than others, then that’s what you’ve got to give.

And did L ever ask for any of this? No. The lazy prick just kept going back to his disability and leaning on it as if the results would be any different as long as he kept waving the same flag.

If anyone out there is thinking that I’m being too harsh to a handicapped person, please think about the funds and time he has wasted, the spot which could have gone to someone more deserving and the anguish he has caused to more than one lecturer.

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