Tuesday, January 23, 2007

First Day Of Class

True story.

My cousin is nearly forty years of age and close to completion of her associate degree at her local community college Certain credits earned there transfer to most of the universities of that state.
Because my cousin was for a long time the working mother of five children — two her own and three her stepchildren — getting all the credits necessary for her degree has been a long, hard slog, with the taking of just a few courses each semester. For the most part, my cousin has been quite laudatory of her professors, particularly of those who require a lot from the students. My cousin is aware that much of what she is learning at the community college will be needed for the job she has in mind.

This past week, the new grading period began. Having tested out of the first semester of English, my cousin placed in the second semester of the course. The following is what happened on the first day of class.

The scene opens in a large classroom, with several students at the ready to begin. My cousin, the oldest of the students by some two decades, is seated in the front row with her notebook and pen at the ready, clearly in a student stance.
(English Professor enters with a flourish}

English Professor: Are you the instructor for this class?

Cousin of AOW (Looks at professor as if the professor has three heads): Noooooo.

English Professor: Is this English XXX?

Cousin of AOW (Incredulously): Yeeeeees.

English Professor (Cheerfully, in a high-pitched voice): Then I must be the instructor!

(English Professor exits. Students look at each other in puzzlement and break out into uproarious laughter.

English Professor returns, with materials in hand and proceeds to hand out what she has brought)

English Professor: Oh, I don't have the last page of the syllabus. There will be no homework this week. (Simpers) Well, I need a writing sample from each of you. Here are the topics. Choose one of the following, and write an essay: Why are you taking this course? or Who is your hero? or How did your childhood compare to that of your parents?

(Class proceeds to write. Once finished, each one turns in a handwritten essay. Cousin of AOW, upon completion of the writing sample, gathers up backpack, approaches teacher's desk, and submits paper)

English Professor (Simpers in a high-pitched voice): Bye, Cousin of AOW!
As soon as class was over, my cousin called me on her cell phone and related what had happened on the first day of a class required for graduation.
AOW (expressing shock): You have no homework? None for the first week? Might we say that you won't be learning anything in this course?

Cousin of AOW (emphatically): Clearly!
It could have been worse, I suppose. The professor might have sent home a booklet similar to the following:

[Hat-tip to Pim's Ghost, whose first grader brought home the above booklet]

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posted by Always On Watch @ 1/23/2007 03:59:00 PM