Saturday, May 13, 2006

Because I love to re-teach entire classes one-on-one

I know that other people in the academic padded rooms section of the blogosphere have complained about this, but that's not going to stop me jumping on the bandwagon: yesterday I had two different students turn up at my office (not during my office hours) to say, "I missed a couple of lectures and I was hoping you could tell me what happened."

So I reminded them of the time-honoured ways in which students deal with missed lectures: do the readings, ask classmates for their notes, download the lecture notes from the web. And both students independently came up with the same reply to these suggestions: "But that's a lot of work, so I thought I'd check with you first to see whether I'd missed anything important."

Next time this happens I am so going to reply, "No, you didn't miss anything important, because we never do anything important in this class. Of course, you did miss an entire new concept that's going to be on the exam, but compared to, say, global warming, starvation, the question of whether we are alone in the universe or your need to go to the beach instead of the lecture last Tuesday, this concept isn't important at all, which is why you'll find that it isn't on the lecture notes, in the textbook or in the readings, and I'm not going to tell you what it is."

Then I will laugh maniacally.

Then I will have a lie down.

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Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

They do that up here too...

The first day of class I tell them a couple of things teachers hate to hear are "I have to go on vacation in Florida and have to miss your class" and "Did we do anything important in class". I then give my answers to their statements... the first being, "I really dont' want to know that you can afford a much better vacation than I, and that when I'm up to my butt in snow you'll be in the Florida sun".. the second being, "you didn't miss anything, we just sat around and talked about how much we missed you."

When I get the questions anyway, I tell them that they need to read the section of my syllabus that tells them what to do in that situation. Then I tell them that if they have specific questions about the material covered, they can come see me.

StyleyGeek said...

I love your answer to the "did we do anything important" question! I'll remember that one!