Monday, October 25, 2010

an idle fantasy

I admit, I got this out of Spider Robinson.  So sue me, it's a great one, and warms my idle moments:

In this fantasy I meet my class on the first day and tell them "everyone gets an A.  If you're on the roster, you get an A."

"But what about papers?"  asks one student.

"Oh, sure, if you have an idea you'd like to work up I'll be very happy to critique it and look at your drafts".

"But that won't affect my grade?"

"No, everyone gets an A."

"What about exams?"

"What for?"

Silence.  One student finally blurts out "but, then why should we come to class or do any readings or ...?"

"The pleasure of learning more about the text, of course.  The pleasure of learning."

This would empty the class of about 98% of its members.  The remaining 3 would be such a pleasure to teach ...


  1. A professor at the University of Ottawa did something similar and got fired:

  2. In my PhD program, we had to take some courses in another area and, on the FIRST night, Dr Eminent Scholar told us all: "I've already posted your final grades on my door".

    I was too afraid to go darken his door and look, soooooo... I did my work anyway (which is what he would have assumed, of course).

  3. "The remaining 3 would be such a pleasure to teach ..."

    Three?! You over estimate the number by three.

  4. I've always been a rosy-glasses optimist.

  5. Still, what we get paid for is to help the other 27 start to think like the 3 who would show up from internal motivation.

  6. That's actually even more inspiring, Toronto69. Though in my case it would be the other 144.


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