the student who I can't stand

There's a student in my small class who has been sorely trying my patience all semester. I haven't blogged about her before because I'm really trying not to complain about people in any specific way . . . she spends a significant portion of her life on line (because who would be friends with her in real life?) and maybe I've been paranoid that she would somehow find me.

She is severely socially impaired, to the point that she can't recognize when other people are talking and interrupts them (and me). She claims to be ADD and she frequently twitches and does weird physical things in class. She refuses to put her desk in the circle with everybody else, and sits off to the corner. She's 28 years old and still lives with her parents. She's nerdy, to the point where she's basically a parody of nerds everywhere (and I am one, so I am allowed to say this) -- she's a big Star Trek fan, she believes in vampires, she plays role-playing games in full costume, and she writes fan fiction. Now, just to make it clear where I stand: my best friend reads and writes fan fic, many of my other friends are into Star Trek, and I used to play D&D (though not for many years). So really, I have nothing against any of those things. But put them all together in someone who is really, really irritating, and it just gives the rest of us nerds a really bad name. Plus she smells kind of bad.

So basically my plan has been to ignore her weird sucking-up comments when I walk in the room, her irrelevant self-revelations during discussion, and her many strange behaviors. Each class period, she'll make a range of comments which rarely have anything to do with the material at hand. My challenge as a teacher is then to say something intelligent that picks up some tiny little speck of idea from her blather and turn it into a coherent point about the material. I can see the other students in the class rolling their eyes when she talks, and then watching me to see what I'm going to do. But tonight it was really hard. I had a hard time keeping my face blank as I listened to the IDIOCY that came out of her mouth. I think the worst was when she was defending an example of racist 19th-century pseudo-science because she said she had a friend who underwent alternative treatment for cancer and therefore she believes in pseudo-science. WTF?

thank goodness the semester is nearly over.