I am a bit out of sorts. Yeah, I know, like that’s a new thing. Shut up and listen for a change, willya?
As any of you know, I volunteer as a mentor for a FIRST robotics team. It is a weird alignment, my innate assholery, some meager knowledge of how to build shit, and an extensive martial arts background make me REALLY popular with the team, of course. Plus, I can draw designs and components on the fly, which nobody can do anymore.
So in the course of pre-season, the mentors decided that we needed to be more pro-active in working on shop safety, and since I was available, I became the un-heralded lead mentor to do so. So I developed a relatively straightforward program of basic instruction, discussion, and practical review. Nobody was thrilled about it, but everybody endured and frankly, it wasn’t all that difficult to deal with. Except that I always got hoarse throat from all the talking over power tools. I understand why shop teachers are always cranky.
But there is one particular student who galls me. Who TASKS me. He is a returning student, a senior, and he has the full-bore Teenager Attitude of KNowing everything Better Than You Old Bastards.
Now, if it was a TKD class, I would just beat him down in a sparring match. But that is probably not appropriate in this venue.
After blowing off the entire pre-season AND the Kickoff event, he posted this on the team FB page:
This seems like one of the most intricate games, I am still lost on the climbing aspect in the end? What scores are available for the height? How do you get a frisbee into the top? I learned from the past few years focusing on one aspect makes all the difference. it’s hard to be well rounded with our small team.
I will be there more often now that the season has begun.
I think one day a week for the Monday and Wednesdays schedule. will let me do everything I want to.
He had no knowledge of the game, he missed all the strategy sessions, he was unwilling to participate in team brainstorming, and yet he feels that participating ONE GODDAM DAY A WEEK will satisfy HIS needs.
And when he was informed that he needed to spend time with me to update and renew his Safety Awareness, he agreed with one other student that we would do it ONE MORE TIME (I already did it twice, I am not thrilled about doing it at all; the entire team treats it as a trial) at 4 PM on Wednesday. When I showed up, he had already left to go to the Swim Meet, and had decided that filling out a quiz was sufficient, because of course any discussion I might have was not NEARLY as good as his innate understanding of shop safety, and he should be allowed full access because he is a GODDAM SENIOR, right?
In their defense, the rest of the team were mostly good about doing the Safety Awareness Training, even if they had been on the team last year. But the Primary Team Director, by letting him do the quiz without the other parts of what I was doing, pretty much invalidated every thing I was trying to do to keep the kids safe.
It’s not as if this one dude was even that skilled or talented. His work was slow, limited, and jeebus, just not that good or intelligent. If he wasn’t part of the team, we wouldn’t miss him; I expect it will take MORE work on the part of mentors to make him productive at all.
But here’s the thing; I am NOT gonna tell him he passed what I set up as S.A.T. if the other mentors, primarily the Maiin Mentor, want to allow him to work in the shop, I will not object.
BUT: either the safety thing is serious, or it is not. I tried to set it up as a serious part of the team, and had some success; but this one self-important teenager makes the whole thing look meaningless to the rest of the team.
SO: what is the purpose of what I do on the team? And if my respect is invalidated in this instance, what the fuck am I bothering with these obnoxious assholes for at all?
For fuck’s sake, I have actual work of my own to do. Plus, it REALLY cuts into my fucking drinking time.