Friday, October 8, 2010

Dumbass in the Hallway.

So today, as I am walking down the hall towards my office, I see a student, eyes glazed, mouth handing open in an attitude of non-comprehension which I am sure is familiar to many of you, gentle readers. She's not drooling, but she looks like she might start drooling at any moment. She is holding a paper, and is accompanied by a dull-faced companion, whose role in this scenario appears to be that of accessory.

The student is staring at the closed and locked door of one of my dear colleagues - let us call her Professor Potter, purely for the joy of alliteration. Knocking on the door has failed to produce a response. The student is clearly bewildered. I have to walk past her to get to my office, which means that I unfortunately give her the opportunity to fix her gaze on me. I am holding keys, with which to get into my office, which clearly makes me a figure of authority.

She asks me if I know where my colleague is. I do not. I ask if she has looked at Prof Potter's schedule, which is helpfully posted on her door. In the few moments the student takes to process this information, I make my way into my office, but I leave the door open, so I am still in earshot.

There's some intense mathematical calculation going on, which involves consulting with her accessory. "It's 11:30, right?" The accessory confirms that this is so. "And this says that she has a class between 11 and 12 today, and that's my class." There's a really long pause. "So where is she? I don't get it."

I am not making this up, I SWARE.


  1. Gah. I'll roll my hope for humanity on this die, one face of which says that Prof P. canceled class and alluded to office hours, a statement which Puzzled Petunia misinterpreted to mean that your dear colleague was holding extra office hours during classtime.

    Please make this be the case. My SSI benefits and IV drip of absinthe are going to depend on these people.

  2. It's really amazing...

    I was chatting with a TA for some upper division bio the other day. he had to teach his students how to read a graph.

    for realz

  3. I once had a student who skipped my class to see me in my office. You can't make this stuff up.

  4. Isn't it possible that she went to class, waited 20 minutes, the prof never showed up to class, so she went to see if he was in his office and had forgotten he was teaching (this happens sometimes to my forgetful more elderly colleagues), and was baffled because his timetable said he was meant to be in class, but he hadn't actually been there?

  5. The student recognized the prof's name though. I was holding conferences all day T/Th, and a student I had never seen seen he was there for our conference. I asked what class, he gave the number of one I teach, but I said I hadn't seen him before, was he sure I was his instructor. He said he'd go look it up, came back saying he needed whoever taught "section 7". (Yes, I could look up who taught that section, but it's week 6, no even attempt at a name? These are english classes with 25 students max in them. these are not classes even offered half-online, and we're 4 weeks after drop-add.)

    After 10 more minutes, with his laptop, he finally came up with a name. My normally-awesome officemate took pity on him and walked him to that professor's door: I was about to indicate the map on any major bulletin boards on this floor.

    But to come in and be pretty sure I was who he wanted? That was just weird.

  6. Yeah. Just...yeah. This post made me feel better about my twinkly stars who failed the "follow directions" test.

  7. To go along with the graph comment, I teach middle school and once had an 8th grader ask me how to use a ruler in the middle of the state standardized test. Sigh.


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