Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Three Stooges Visit My Class

Dear Moe, Larry, and Curly,

I don't recall ever having to give any student a post-class ass-chewing as early as the second class meeting before. You've achieved something unique with your rude, disruptive animated discussion amongst yourselves while your classmates tried to focus on our movie and actually learn something from it. Curly, you at least should have had some clue. This is, after all, your second time around with me.

Those classroom computers? They are there for educational purposes, not for your amusement. You thought you were so clever bypassing SynchronEyes when I locked the screens. Your action was a sign of contempt, and you've already lost any slack I might possibly have been inclined to cut you. Future students won't thank you for irritating me enough to send a service request to Technology Services to put some effort into fixing those loopholes. The "YOU! And YOU! And YOU! SEE ME AFTER CLASS," after our little video interlude, rather than something a little more subtle?

One of your other classmates commented later on Facebook that he expected such behavor as yours from middle school students, not college students, and that you deserved what you got from me. So it's not just me, being a bitch, never mind that I am.

Oh, and Larry? Your attempt at impressing me afterwards with your 1337 h4x0r ski11z by asking why I run Ubuntu Linux instead of a more esoteric distribution like Gentoo or FreeBSD, and why I'm using plain vanilla WordPress (which I'm not)? Um, not so impressive. I expect you'll be one of my over-confident boys that thinks he knows everything already and this class is beneath him. I wish I could go ahead and record your 'F' right now and save myself some effort and aggravation.

No love,

Your Professor


  1. I truly do believe that having classes in a computer lab is an affront to education. I wish schools would allow us to schedule both a computer lab AND a regular classroom just so this sort of crap doesn't happen on days when the class is not required to use their computers. Well, that or just give us the power to shut the damn things off from the front of the classroom! A total lockout would be great. Of course, so would getting any h4x0rs or web-addicts immediately suspended for breaking the rules.

    I can dream, right?

  2. Having been among the ranks of those so called "1337 h4x0r" i can tell you when i am presented with a challenge such as a locked down computer terminal i find it very difficult to ignore, because anything worth spending money to keep me from seeing must be worth seeing, well that and i love a good challenge. so if you really want us to not mess with the computers when we aren't supposed to, then they should all be laptops kept in a locked cabinet in the room and we should only be allowed into it when the prof unlocks it. Or you can take the rope approach, where-by you leave the computers completely unlocked and put no restrictions on it except for some simple suggestions or words of guidance, there-by giving us enough metaphorical rope to metaphorically hang ourselves. It is said that experience is the greatest teacher after all.

    the ever curious wolf

  3. Doodle, you *do* realize that your excuse, "But it's shiny! I have to play with it" is not going to impress or persuade, don't you?

  4. While we're at it, can we please outlaw laptops in lecture courses (unless the student has a documented disability)? Or, at the very least, can we turn off the WiFi in the lecture hall so that their laptops become 1994ish and uninteresting?

    I sometimes guest lecture in a course for adults--public school teachers, in fact--and still, during an hour-long presentation, I never make eye contact with a few of them because their eyes never leave their laptops.

    Sorry, Doodle, but your argument is bunk. It's not like they've said "I put something SUPER-SECRET on this computer, and none of you can see it." You KNOW what's on the computer. It's the Internet. There's no mystery to be unlocked.

    And if the mystery is so compelling, come back after class or before class to try your h4xing.

    If we could lock the computers in a metal cabinet, we would. But we don't own the computer lab. It's like if I came to your rented apartment and said, "You really ought to install a bigger sink in the kitchen." Sure, maybe you ought to, but you don't own the kitchen. So you can't. You can ask your landlord for a bigger sink, but you probably won't get one.

    I appreciate that you love puzzles, but ultimately you're just giving us the same damn excuse I've heard from students and ex-girlfriends: "But I feel compelled to do something! How can I possibly do anything but act on what I feel?"

  5. I was assigned a computer classroom, despite the fact that I could legitimately use the machines for class about 4 times a semester. All I did most days was walk around telling people to turn off their FUCKING FACEBOOK PAGE!!!!

  6. Doodle, how did you get into college without knowing that the pronoun "I" should be capitalized, or that the word "whereby" is not hyphenated? Oops, that's a long word. It means it doesn't have a dash in the middle of the word.

  7. Wow, OK, if I had known I was flame-baiting you people I would have just kept my mouth shut.

  8. Doodle, my sweet, grow a pair :) (I know Doodle IRL, so Doodle knows exactly the tone of voice I am using.)

    As for the laptops ... amen, and sing it! I once had a computer lab assigned to me for a class in which I needed NO computer time at all. Thank heavens there were only eight students; we pulled chairs in a circle, and by the end of the eight week class were meeting in Toribia's for dinner. The tradeoff was that dinner conversation *had* to be substantive or it was back to the classroom the week after.


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