Overreacting and Following Up

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Many of you may have seen my post last week about a professor of mine that bagged on RPGs and D&D specifically. This happened during class and seemed like it was aimed at me, as it’s known in the class that I game. I figured that since I’ve had another class with the guy since then (we only meet once a week) that I would give you all some follow-up to that post and my current thoughts on what happened.

There was a lot of discussion generated by that post, both here on TC and on reddit, where it was linked. The discussion seemed a little split in terms of response. Most of the responses were either of the form “You should encourage him to play so he will learn that it’s not bad,” or “I really didn’t think that things like this happened with gaming anymore.” Another group of commenters sought clarity from me on specific parts of my interactions with my professor, which I did my best to provide in my own responses. I’d had a week to think about everything between classes and I had cooled down a lot. When I wrote the post, it was all still fresh in my mind.

I had also decided not to confront my professor directly about what he said. I mentioned in the original post that I had not done that during class because I didn’t feel it was an appropriate use of class time. Now I was deciding not to do it mainly because I was being dismissive of him. I admit, it’s not the best attitude to have but it’s how I tend to deal with people I don’t care for. So, with that, I went back to class.

Now, for all that I wasn’t going to directly confront him, I still wanted to find out if he had something against gaming in general, or against me. Every week, he asks us to tell the class something positive that has happened to us in the week between classes. I told the class about going to GASP-Con, which wasn’t my favorite time but did allow me to connect with another educator who uses gaming in the classroom, Pete Figtree. When I related that story, the professor stated that he thought that using gaming in the classroom was a great idea and that I should use Pete as a reference for my coming paper on my Philosophy of Education.

When that happened, the whole situation made sense to me. Firstly, he wasn’t some raging conservative who blindly hated RPGs. He was a person who, like many of you suggested, knew the D&D name and didn’t want the violence in the classroom. Secondly, I must have done something during the class in which he made his comment because corroboration with some classmates confirmed that he had directed his comments squarely at me. Thirdly, I had overreacted to the whole situation.

As thing stand now, I’m still glad that I took the opportunity to write about what happened. If nothing else, putting my feelings about the situation out there for all of you to read helped generate some good discussions and helped me to think about the situation more clearly. It also encouraged me to react in a more thoughtful manner. My initial reaction of “OMG, HE HATES GAMERS” was more than a little over the top. That said, if I do have the chance during this class to help him find out that D&D isn’t a game that has to contain violence and is something that could be used in the classroom (at least aspects of it) then I will do so.

I want to close this out by thanking everyone who participated in the discussion that my previous post generated. I don’t know what kind of response I had expected but what you all gave me was great. Thank you. I love writing about gaming and seeing people react in such a constructive manner made me happy. If you have anything you wish to add to the discussion, feel free to leave me a comment or hit me up on Twitter.

[tags]rpg, rpgs, role playing games, incidents, Play in Public[/tags]

4 thoughts on “Overreacting and Following Up

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  1. I’m glad to hear that it worked out. I do find that sort of passive-aggressive attack against you curious, but at least it wasn’t against gaming in general. He was just using a convenient vector.

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  2. Yeah, maybe I did something to upset him and that was his way of showing it. Doesn’t come off as a great move as a teacher, but it wasn’t the end of the world either.

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  3. It was interesting reading both these posts. I’m glad he isn’t against gamers/games in general, but still sad that he’s stuck on that old D&D stereotype.

    On a related note, have you read or played ‘Happy Birthday, Robot’? It’s a storytelling game for children and it’s been playtested in classrooms. It even has tips throughout from a 4th grade teacher who played it with her classes and was consulted during the creation of the game. It’s very interesting to see a game that was made in this way.

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