Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beaker Ben's interpersonal skills on display

My boss gave me, sweet, lovable me, the duty of cramming a bunch of shiftless students into our already overcrowded freshman chemistry classes. They all could have registered on time, when we could have opened more sections, but they didn’t. I spent more time logged into the registrar's website than Facebook. "Sux," as the kids say. On the upside, I get a CM post out of it.

“I need to take the 11 am lecture. It’s the same time as my roommate’s class. We’re going to car pool.”
I’m as happy to help Mother Earth as the next guy but 11 am is full and the 6 - 8 pm lecture has openings. Plant a tree instead.

By email, I receive this: “I need to switch my chemistry section. I don’t like this teacher. I had him last semester and he’s terrible.”
Hi Samantha. I haven’t seen you since you took my final exam. We have a lot of catching up to do. See you in class Monday.

“I no speak English good. I just arrive from Russia. Need 9 clock lecture with friend so he translate what professor say.”
My God, you’re going to be a pain to teach. The 9 am guy is my friend. I’ll put you in crabby Dr. Olszewski's class. He’s Polish. And old. Like, - read your 20th century history if you don’t realize I’m screwing you over - old. You two will get along just fine.

“I need to take chemistry. It’s a prereq for lots of my upper level classes. I won’t graduate on time if I don’t get into a chemistry class. This is really important to me and my family.”
Hmmm. This is tough. I’ll need to move some students around so you can get in. Come back tomorrow. [make phone calls, sign papers, check fire department’s maximum capacity for room, slip in an extra chair when nobody’s looking...]
You are in luck. There is a seat in an 8 am class for you.
“Really? 8 am? That’s early. Wow. I’ll think about it.”

See what happens when I try to do something nice for a change? No love for the Beaker.


  1. Mark Twain or somebody said something about no good deed going unpunished. Or something. So, Ben, you're in the same league with MT.

  2. In the late '80s, I spent some time as an intern at a British boarding school. One of my colleagues was a woman who had fled Poland during WWII, as a very young adult. She was still carrying refugee papers, even though she had long been eligible for a British passport, owned property in the UK, and had every expectation of living the rest of her life there. If Dr. Olszewski thinks anything like her, then yes, your Russian student will have an interesting time of it.

  3. Can I get some fries with my McChemistry class?

    Special orders don't upset us....

  4. It's the "I'll think about it" that burns my biscuits.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.