Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shut the F*** up!

At the beginning of class the other day,

Student:  I heard we're behind.

Another student:  That's what I heard too!

Yet another student:  What really?!

Student replying:  Yeah, well I got the syllabus in front of me and it says we are supposed to be doing Quadratic Equations right now and we have just finished the laws of exponents!  How are we going to cram the rest of the topics together in rest of the semester!

And another student:  What is to become of those of us who are going on to A Real College Class in Algebra that Tends to Cause Ed Majors to Cry?

And another student:  Yeah!  Not fair to us.

Me:  If we take class time to discuss this, then we will be even more behind.

Student:  Wait, I'm confused!  Did you just admit that we are behind?

Me:  I am not going to take class time to discuss this.  I am in the process of modifying the syllabus and will pass out a modified schedule the next time we meet.  I am starting the lesson now.

Me:  Let's open our texts to section 12.3.  Polynomials are algebraic...

Student:  Excuse me Mr. EMH.  I would still like an answer to my question!!

Me:  I am continuing our lesson.  This section on polynomials talks about how to add...

Other student:  You didn't answer his question.

And another student:  I can't hear the lesson because of all the complaining.  Can you please start over?

Me:  This is everyone's warning.  Continuing to interrupt the lesson is disruptive.  The next person who disrupts class will be sent home with no credit for the day.  Stuff is still on the test, even if it doesn't get covered.


My God?  A few weeks ago, these same people also complained that we were going too fast!  They had such difficulty understanding things, that I think I watered the material down too much.

What am I going to do?  And who told them we were behind?  Maybe that one student who actually read the syllabus?


  1. Tell them that they're fools and snivelers....don't dance around it, tell them that they are no good at making judgements about where the class is going.

  2. No no no. Lie to them. Tell them:

    "I underestimated you based on previous classes. We spent more time on B, G and W than was put on the syllabus because you were capable of understanding those topics in more detail than is normally covered. We're going to be fine, we can go through the remaining topics at only the standard level, at a faster than standard pace because you're such a strong class. You're actually going to be more prepared when you get to [that crying class] because of this."

    Your weakest student will cry that the only reason they are [so stupid] is because of the fictitious "extra" stuff you did, but you just tell that student you lied and take that one out with Strelnikov's solution.

  3. I'm with Strel.

    I make adjustments to my syllabus/calendar all the time--sometimes we take longer to do some things. Most of my students are first-generation (and an increasing number are returning adults), so I don't get this kind of BS, at least not to my face. They save it for the evals, which I don't have to do every semester any more. If it comes up in your evals, have a response prepared in advance, should your chair elect to call you on it.

    I have learned to build in "review"/TBA days, where I can play catch-up if I've been out sick, which is going to come in handy this semester (I was out most of last week).

    Good luck with your blood pressure.


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