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« The Devil's Feather | Main | ESTC »

September 25, 2006


Benjamin Nelson

I had a soliloquiz once. I did terribly; lucky for me it wasn't graded.




It probably won't make you feel any better to know that many of us write them down. On the other hand, if I bother writing down a silly professor comment, I usually repeat it to my friends with the addendum "Isn't that hysterical? This is why X is the best professor ever!"


When that happens to me I comfort myself with the knowledge that at least half of them probably weren't listening in the first place, and the rest will no doubt forget it and everything else I said within minutes of leaving the room.

Last year when I was what Americans call a "TA" to a certain prof in our dept, she seemed to have very bad luck with the automatic WebCT lecture recording software. Almost a third of her lectures never made it online due to "technical problems".

Recently the reason for this became clear when I overheard her telling someone that whenever she realises she made a silly/stupid comment in class, she makes the WebCT recording unavailable and puts it down to software error.


As I've noticed that you rarely make a mistake on this blog or say anything you might regret later, I'm glad to know that in real life you're less perfect. I think one of the favors we do our students is to let them see that very admirable people like we sometimes are can also be very imperfect.


I find that extemporaneous/scripted line hard to negotiate too. We don't want to be robots and prescript every word we say in class (also, that would take zillions of hours to prepare), but we don't want to say anything stupid either. It's hard.


I recently described, to some new students, Malory's Perceval and his temptation - the one where he crosses himself just before going to bed, and the lady he thought he was joining turns into a demon. And then I hear myself commenting that as far as first sexual experiences go, that one must make the top list of terrifying. I really need to learn to use a script, and not deviate.

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