titles, respect, etc.

Sat, 9 Mar 1996 14:14:51 EWT

This is in response to Elaine Hill's comments of March 3 with respect to
titles, age, looks, etc. I suppose I have a problem with being reated with
respect. I am quite short--four-foot-nine--and I look considerably younger
than my forty-three years. In addition, I am visually impaired, which adds to
peoples' sometimes tending to infantilize me. In 1975, I was flying home from
Britain, when a not-very-observant flight attendant came up to me. all she saw
was a little form scrunched up in the seat, and she asked, "Would you like a
comic book?" To which I responded, "No, but I'd like a beer!" a year later, I
was taking a train from Toronto to New York, and a guy behind me just saw my
hair, apparently. seeing that I was short and blind, he thought he'd try to
help and tried to push me onto the train, which is not what one does. He kept
going "Atta boy, atta boy." It was all i could do to keep a straight face. I
was tempted to say, "Thank you, thweetheart!" I was carded a few days before
my thiorty-seventh birthday, and that was sort of flattering.

I haven't had anything that dramatic happen recently, but my height, my
looking younger than I am, and my disability have, I'm sure, contributed to
boundary problems with students. Last year, I taught in a school which had
pretty much open enrollment, and i had the eighteen-year-olds, many of whom
were taking anthro to fulfill a requirement. I had a number of people in the
back of the room who would walk out in the middle of lecture or who would talk
and distract the others. Until I read them the riot act and said that they
could come or not come, but if they did come, unless they told me ahead of
time, they were committed for the whole hour-and-fifteen minutes. I had a
plagarist who brazenly pilferred out of the textbook and had the balls, the
next day, to come in and ask for his grade! I think that the students probably
didn't expect me to come down hard on them. I did, they bitched, but then in
the evaluations, most of them avowed that I was fair.

I guess that the most recent thing was that I'd applied for a position at a
certain university outside of the US, and the acknowledgement letter said,
"Dear MS Steiner," as opposed to Dr. Has anyone read Erving Goffman's oldie
but goodie, "Deference and Demeanor?"

Marge steiner