Social Workers

Despite the fact that I'm not sure how the credits will transfer to different majors I'm now considering, I'm really glad I took this intro to social work course. I say this because I absolutely hate the course, I cannot stand my instructor, and the students drive me nuts.
It has reaffirmed everything about working in human services that bothered me before, when I was an actual employee for almost nine years, and has encouraged me not to get a minor in social work.
I showed up in class at nine this morning prepared to give a presentation on an interview I had to have for class, then take the second of four tests we'll have in class. I had no idea going in how I did on the first test because the instructor has never bothered to return those exams to us. I was as prepared as I was going to be.
The first thing that happened when I walked in was a girl who has shown up three times all semester was furiously scribbling things on the study guide. She looked up and barked at me “What's the difference between the AFD-whatever thingy, and the other one?” I knew she meant she was looking at the question about a possible essay we'd have to write comparing an older system of aid to families with depedent children, and the current government aid, called TANF.
The second time this girl came to class she was filling out the answers to a study guide for a computer science class she was taking. The test was apparently going to be on Microsoft Word and, as she sighed to me, “I don't know shit about computers.” So she kept trying to pick my brain and ask me what different toolbars and shortcuts were. I helped out at the point until I discovered that she had only bothered showing up to that class one time in the past, which is why she was not prepared for the test.
The fact that I hadn't seen her in social work in a month and now she was pulling the same crap irritated me. Once you get labelled as “a good student,” there's always at least one student who tries to take advantage of you and tries to convince you to do their work for them.
So I spent the remaining twenty minutes before class started attempting to study without letting her know I'd already filled out my study guide. If I had let on, she would have asked to borrow it, copied down my answers, and spent the rest of the time outside smoking. I had no intention of giving up my cram session so this chick could just memorize my answers. Besides, the fact that she was sitting a seat behind me and to my left meant the instructor would think we were cheating. I don't want to risk flunking a test in a class where I have no idea where I stand.

The rest of the two and a half hours before we were actually given the exam (it's a three hour course) were spent listening to the instructor talk about her adopted son from Russia. At first, it was kinda-sorta related to the class because she linked it to the possible abuse he suffered in an orphanage. Then it was just other students encouraging her to go on with her stories so they wouldn't have to take the test. This happens everytime something is scheduled in that class. Every. Freaking. Time.
Everyone knows she loves to hear herself talk so they keep saying “No way! Did that really happen? What did you do about it!?” And she goes into a twenty-minute diatribe about how hard it's been for her with this special needs orphan (he's dyslexic, from what I can tell) and we're all supposed to Oooh and Aaah and agree that she's a martyr.

She also uses incredibly disgusting terms to refer to her children or others. I've made a habit of writing them down in my notebook because I have no reason to take notes since we're not really discussing anything pertaining to class. They are: “kidlets,” “munchkins,” “little guys,” “chickadees,” “critters,” and “little monsters,” in no particular order.

She also has a habit of constantly clearing her throat, smacking her lips after every sentence, and giggling after she says inappropriate things. I don't even know how to explain it.

What I do know is that today was a classic example of the social services profession at work. One person wanted to dominate the conversation by telling stories attesting to her incredible patience and personal virtues. This led other people to share very personal, somewhat embarrassing stories that were hardly related to what she was talking about. Two hours into class it had turned into group therapy, where I learned exactly how many people in the social work program are former drug abusers, alcoholics; had been abused, molested, or raped; had been incarcerated; were on temporary government assistance.
We even had one person break down crying because she believes in corporal punishment and someone else told her that was wrong.

All in all, it was like reliving a social services conference where nothing gets done and everyone just wants to tell stories to make other people feel sorry for them.

English department, here I come!


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