Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nobby from North Dakota With Some Snowflake Mail.

I teach a class for graduating (or so they think) seniors. I have brought in several guest speakers for the class. Each speaker introduced him/herself. The students were encouraged to ask any questions they wished. The speakers are bringing ideas and experiences into the class that the students may wish to incorporate into their final projects. The students (do I even need to say this?) are responsible for taking notes during the talks.

Today, exactly one week before the project is due, I receive this email from one of the students, reproduced more or less in its entirety:

Can you email me a list of the guest speakers who attended class and their official titles please?
Sure, no problem! Would you like me to type out a full transcript and summary of each of the talks as well?


  1. I've taught more than a few "graduating (or so they think) seniors," both just before and just after they walked across a stage without actually receiving a diploma. This is, unfortunately, about par for the course for them (and explains a lot about how they got into the graduating-or-so-they-think position). You have my sympathies. The list the student mentions should probably be available, or at least compilable from information available, somewhere (the syllabus, perhaps?); I also suspect it is, and the student just hasn't bothered to look/compile.

  2. "Would you? Gee, thanks, that's really nice of you, that way, I know not to have to take notes any more. You're such a cool professor to do that for us."

  3. Forgive me, but I don't think this is that bad of a request.

    I would have made sure this basic information was available anyway.


  4. Now you know why I stopped bringing in guest speakers years ago. It's just plain embarrassing for them to see what modern college education has come to: it's all too obvious in the looks in their faces.

    1. Same here! The students were just as rude to them, using electronics and putting heads on desks, as they were to me.

      But, that was before I got mean....

    2. I applaud your approach, since I think everyone who has tenure should use it to its maximum effect. The problem is that, if you bring in a guest speaker, they invariably ask what the whip, chair, and loaded pistol are for, not knowing that teaching today isn't much different from lion taming. (And of course, I have my own hat.)