Soooooooooo frustrated with my classmate!!

  1. Just started LPN school last week. There are 26 students in my class. We have the same classes with everyone, same classroom. The woman who sat beside me on the first day is an ESL student (English as a Second Language). Now, she would have had to pass an English proficiency test to get into the program, but she is struggling with both the regular English conversation in lectures and definately with A + P.

    I'm already quite proficient in medical terminology and A + P. She interupts me AT LEAST 3-4 times per lecture to ask what word was just said, or what page the instructor is referring to, or the meaning of a word etc. She is a very nice person and I do feel for her situation, but I am there to become a nurse, not be her translator!!!!!

    I find it soooooooooo distracting and frustrating to be interrupted so much when all I want to do is listen and take notes. She will often ask to borrow my notes at the end of class since she didn't catch half of what was said.

    I called an instructor today to talk about the situation, but wasn't called back. I guess she had already left for the weekend.

    I don't want to change seats as I'm right at the front. It's not even that I don't want to sit beside this woman, but how do I approach this without coming accross like an insenstive jerk? If this was an English speaking student doing this, I would have no problem telling them to stop interrupting me so much.

    But because she is ethnic and ESL, I feel like I would be discriminatory or really mean by telling her STOP INTERUPTING ME ALL DAY TO ASK FOR CLARIFICATION OF ENGLISH WORDS AND INSTRUCTIONS!!

    I don't want the instructor to single her out and make her feel uncomfortable. Perhaps the instructor would be willing to make a general class announcement like "we've noticed some whispering going on during lectures. Please refrain from interuppting classmates during lectures and save your questions for the end of class" or something like that.

    Any words of wisdom for me?
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  2. 43 Comments

  3. by   twinkerrs
    Do you have time to go over the notes with her at a break or something? That way you could just let her know that in order for you to understand the lecture you cannot be trying to help her during the lecture it will have to be after class. You could clarify things she missed for her and it gives you a chance to review the lecture and cement everything in your mind.
  4. by   luvmy3kids
    Quote from twinkerrs
    Do you have time to go over the notes with her at a break or something? That way you could just let her know that in order for you to understand the lecture you cannot be trying to help her during the lecture it will have to be after class. You could clarify things she missed for her and it gives you a chance to review the lecture and cement everything in your mind.
    I think that is good advice. It's not fair to you and she needs to understand that as much as she is trying to understand the material.... so are you.

    Good luck!

    Jen
  5. by   Soup Turtle
    Good question. There is a girl like that in one of my classes, too. She's very nice and I wish her well, but I feel like I spend a lot of time and energy helping her understand things when I really need to be working on my own projects.
    I usually just try to avoid sitting next to her or being in her group. I get frustrated, but I'd feel pretty mean refusing to answer her constant questions.
  6. by   OgopogoLPN
    Quote from twinkerrs
    Do you have time to go over the notes with her at a break or something? That way you could just let her know that in order for you to understand the lecture you cannot be trying to help her during the lecture it will have to be after class. You could clarify things she missed for her and it gives you a chance to review the lecture and cement everything in your mind.

    Well, I guess I'm going to be selfish here and say no I wouldn't do that. I use my breaks to grab a snack, stretch outside, call my kids daycare etc.

    I also don't feel like I should be a 'tutor' to her just because she doesn't understand many of the English words used. I want to be a helpful person and would help her at times if needed, but I sure don't want to get into the habit of spending my breaks with her. I know that is selfish, but I'm there for ME and not her.

    Wow, I must sound like a biotch.......
  7. by   Jillybean07
    I have a similar problem at my school where a girl in my class thinks that it is story time and whatever the prof is talking about she has to say something that happened to her that relates to what they are saying....when half the time it does not and i feel that i am paying to learn about nursing not to listen to her being disruptive and her nonsense story so i feel you on that. its difficult when things like that happen because you dont want to be mean but there is a line that you have to draw and think about yourself sometimes!!!!!!
  8. by   Asherah
    Quote from Ogopogo
    Well, I guess I'm going to be selfish here and say no I wouldn't do that. I use my breaks to grab a snack, stretch outside, call my kids daycare etc.

    I also don't feel like I should be a 'tutor' to her just because she doesn't understand many of the English words used. I want to be a helpful person and would help her at times if needed, but I sure don't want to get into the habit of spending my breaks with her. I know that is selfish, but I'm there for ME and not her.

    Wow, I must sound like a biotch.......
    I wouldn't consider you as acting like that at all...it is hard enough to be successful in an nursing program when being responsible only for yourself, not the understanding of an additional student as well. I think it was wise of you to go to the instructor, only in that, they need to be aware that the student may be experiencing some language difficulties. Perhaps the instructor could take some time out of their schedule to assist the student, rather than have you be the target.

    There is definitely a fine line between assisting someone and constantly having to direct your attention away from the lecture towards another student. Come Monday, see if the instructor has responded and just be sincere about the fact that you are happy to help your peers, but that this situation is a bit overwhelming and you want to remain 100% focused on your success.

    Good luck!
  9. by   vashtee
    Why don't you suggest she ask if she could record the lecture so she can review it at her leisure after class?
  10. by   Achoo!
    The learning center can offer her studying help. At my school I have been paid to be a notetaker for a student. That may be something she could be offered if she is having trouble taking notes or undertsanding the terms. I would also suggest her tape recording classes.

    I agree that if it is harboring your learning, it needs to be bought up somehow, and I don't think it is mean to do so. I hope your instructor can give you some advice. Good luck!
  11. by   OgopogoLPN
    Quote from Jillybean07
    I have a similar problem at my school where a girl in my class thinks that it is story time and whatever the prof is talking about she has to say something that happened to her that relates to what they are saying....when half the time it does not and i feel that i am paying to learn about nursing not to listen to her being disruptive and her nonsense story so i feel you on that. its difficult when things like that happen because you dont want to be mean but there is a line that you have to draw and think about yourself sometimes!!!!!!
    '

    Oh, man, we get a TON of that too!!!!!! Everyone has a great aunt who had a hip replacement and this and that went wrong and the nurse said this and that and blah, blah, blah, blah................Drives me CRAZY!!!
  12. by   future L&Dnurse
    I don't consider you a b-word at all, I wouldn't want to deal with that either. I know that my own philosphy is that I am very happy to help anyone else with material, so long as it does not prevent me from learning it for myself. I appreciate when my classmates help me in the same way, but don't expect them to sacrifice themselves for my benefit.

    That said, I would probably change seats. I know you're right in the front but if this is the situation, I would probably assume I would learn more in an uninterrupted seat in the back, than in an often-interrupted seat in the front. I know that's probably not what you want to hear, but I think that diplomatically it's likely the best option - if you say anything to her she may take it as a personal insult or rejection, which causes animosity. If you say nothing, you miss out on lecture and your own education suffers.

    Sorry you are in this situation, it has to be very frustrating.
    Last edit by future L&Dnurse on Sep 14, '07 : Reason: to fix the bleeped word.
  13. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I seond the suggestion for the voice recorder. This would help her, and save your sanity.
  14. by   deeDawntee
    OK, I can't believe she is being so insensitive to YOUR needs that she thinks she can use you are her own personal tutor! That is what her professor is for or whatever support there exists for her at your school. It sounds like you just need to tell her that you cannot be her personal tutor and that if she is having difficulty she needs to talk to the professor. It sounds like she needs more proficiency in English before she will ever pass nursing school, let alone NCLEX. In fact, by 'helping' her, you may be ultimately hurting her chances, because she is not getting the help she really needs... I would bet she fails out by the end of the year. How can she be an effective nurse if she can't even understand a lecture? Sounds mean, but it is the truth...

    Good luck and you are way more patient then I would have been in the same situation!

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