Bad manners prevail on the Mt. Vernon shuttle. So many students are aggressively vying for limited seats that I often wait for two or more buses to come and go before I can board and get to my classroom.
By 5:30 p.m. one day I had been on my feet teaching Western Civilization for nearly three hours. I patiently waited for two buses’ worth of students to leave Mt. Vernon before “my” turn arrived – only to have my access to that third bus cut off by pushy students who turned up at the last minute, rushed past me and filled every seat. Not one offered their seat to me, clearly feeling they had “won” a space by utterly jettisoning good manners.
As the sole professor on that departing bus, I stood swaying in the front for the slow rush-hour trip back to Foggy Bottom, and pondered the “me-first” behavior behind me. Altogether, I was standing continually for four hours this day, while students fresh from sitting down in classes felt perfectly comfortable jumping in front of me in line.
I might add that I am on GW’s nine-month salary contract, I don’t even get paid for my first 4 weeks of fall commuter teaching until Sept. 30. We’re all in a hurry, folks, but please be gracious in that shuttle line – sometimes it’s a dedicated (but tired and broke) professor’s turn to sit down.
-Bonnie J. Morris, Ph.D