Saturday, November 16, 2013
"Of Students and Squirrels," from Dr. Magnus.
Here are some examples from our recent observation of snowflake squirrels in the Sanctuary:
1. "Dr Magnus," one asks as he stands in my office door, "I have to study for Dr Tesla's scary test. That test is right after your class, so I'm not going to be in your class because I'll be studying for it. We aren't doing anything important in class, are we?" Who, with a brain cell left in their body, says this to a professor? Think it, sure. Act on it, maybe. But tell the prof that you are doing it? No.
2. "Dr. Magnus," says one snowflake squirrel standing awkwardly in my office, "your class on Hamster Algorithms is so boring. I mean really boring. I know all this stuff already. The assignments you give just like the ones I did at Other University. Can you increase the difficulty of this class?" I remind him politely that the class is for beginners. His reply? "Well, can you rack up the difficulty, like really quick? I'm bored" He feels that I should change the entire class to challenge him? Who tells a prof their class isn't hard enough? In my day, only an idiot.
3. I subbed for another prof recently, the esteemed Dr Watson. Dr Watson asked me to give his students some problems to work during class. The snowflake squirrels, on the other hand, groaned, moaned, stared blankly at the sheet of paper, and started making chattering noises that signify they sense danger. The danger? They had to THINK. Perish the thought.
4. And one last example from my days as a student. A professor had forgotten his watch an asked the students to let him know when class was over. A snowflake squirrel indicated class was over fifteen minutes earlier than he should have. I don't what happened to him, but I don't think he ever came back to class. Last I heard, he decided to go back and pursue his music career in a rock band.
I would like to hear your experiences with the Snowflake Squirrel, in the interest of shared knowledge and research.
Note: Names have been changed to protect the guilty. This post was not written under the influence of medicinal products, illegal drugs, or alcoholic drinks. The Snowflake Squirrel, unlike the fox in my previous post, is a symbol. Although I think a mangy, old fox would make a great metaphor for some types of sly and cunning faculty members ... but I digress.
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To Squirrel #2: If this is so easy for you, then you should have no trouble getting an A+. While you're bored, help someone else who is having trouble or sit quietly in the back and do homework or read or surf the web. Just don't ever say, "You never covered that in class."ReplyDelete
"The snowflake squirrels . . . started making chattering noises that signify they sense danger. The danger? They had to THINK."ReplyDelete
This. Also, I enjoy your posts and your new graphic.
Thank you, Proffie Galore..Delete
Hey, I miss your old "twisted" smile though. It was eerily comforting to me. But this post is great!Delete
I,too, liked the description of the chattering noises. I've heard those noises. The really bad news is that while some of them follow up by running and hiding, others do, indeed, throw nuts (evaluation and site-that-shall-not-be-named comments, whiny emails, etc.).Delete
And complaints to chairs about how "mean" we are.Delete
Hey, be careful of squirrels! They carry rabies, you know!ReplyDelete
A symptom of rabies is when they become demented, lose their natural fear of humans, and become overly friendly. Squirrels 1 and 2 are showing this.
Excellent point, Froderick. I only wish I had thought of that!Delete
Good point, indeed. There were some advantages, I suspect, to students who didn't trust anyone under thirty. The current combination of thinking they know better than the so-called authority figures in their lives (normal for late adolescents) *and* wanting approval from said figures (less normal, or at least less normal to show it) makes for some very weird conversations.Delete
When students ask if we're doing anything important in class, I've just started to say, "No," and ignore whatever else they say.ReplyDelete
Tom Wayman's poem said it all much better than I could ever say it, so my short answer works for me.Delete
I say, "YES, GODDAMMIT!!!" And I scream it at them. Sometimes it does penetrate their thick skulls.Delete
I proceed to share really important information after that. Mean? Probably. I don't care.Delete
I did something equally mean. I gave those in attendance a review for their next exam. The fearsome Dr Tesla here at the Sanctuary has been a bad influence on me.Delete
If there's a small furry creature in your next post I'm going to think something is up.ReplyDelete
I tell my classes that "only stupid people get bored. Y'all are in college and are therefore not stupid." Nobody tells me they are bored for some reason after that! (As if they don't pull other crap.)ReplyDelete
On the last day of add/drop this semester, I had a Secret Squirrel come to my office to speak to me about my (popular and not at all easy) course on Robot Hamsters in a Fictional Setting. When I gave him a copy of the syllabus, he immediately began criticizing the book and film selection, and giving me advice on what should be in the course. I managed to hang on to my temper, and reader, I admitted him to the class.ReplyDelete
He has been a total PITA ever since. On the days he comes to class, he shows up 30-45-60 minutes late and immediately jumps into the class discussion with no idea what we've been talking about. It got to the point where I was afraid my other students were going to stone him to death. What makes it worse is that his hygiene leaves a lot to be desired--though I know his advisor has met with him and tried to explain why he must shower and change into clean clothes before class.