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“Your Fly Is Down!!!” – That & Other Important Things You Should Know While Teaching A Class…

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Teaching is a weird thing to do. Especially at the collegiate level, where one must nonchalantly address a mass of humanity that you cannot identify and that barely recognises you a member of it’s own species. To do this is daunting enough; but to do it well is almost impossible. Nonetheless an increasing number of people enter teaching with nothing but their imagination to guide them. It is important that a number of myths of teaching need to be dispelled immediately to prevent mass suicide among the Teaching Population.

1. The Movies Were Wrong…

Nope!

No!
Don’t watch them. Students will not stand up on desks when you are eventually fired; or sing songs in their spare time about how you changed their lives forever. They will not even play your favourite music when you retire. In fact, they probably won’t remember you by lunchtime. Besides, watching stupid movies about how wonderful teachers are; doesn’t help either!
2. You Are Not A Revolutionary, A Rebel or A Radical…
Nothing close to it. You are a cog in the Machine. You are the System. You are the person of and in Authority. Just saying the rules are stupid and then making everyone follow them is not Rebellion. It’s just Fascism. It’s your way of making people as conformist as they can be; without being obvious about it. Accept that you are a mindless follower just like everyone else. And stop telling people you aren’t… It gets really annoying after a while.
3. You Are Old…
Using your idea of the latest slang like “Dude” and “Bro” in the middle of your lectures does not make the students feel you are one of them… Seriously; don’t do that! It just makes you look a bit desperate and really shows them that you are completely disconnected from their lives. Just act your age. If at all possible; act older! You might remind them of a mildly-tolerated grandparent that they don’t actively hate…
4. You Are Not Charismatic…
Very few teachers are…
The probability that you are one of them is minuscule. If you were one of those teachers who can hold a classroom spellbound for two hours; you would know it by now. If you are not sure already, you are not among them. Just relax and do your best. Some of the students may even stay awake for the first hour out of pity…
5. Your Students Don’t Actually Like You…
Get over it!
If a bunch of students ask you questions and laugh at your jokes after class, it doesn’t mean that you are on their top ten list of favourite people. It just means they probably think they will ask for more time for an assignment the next time they see you. But it also it may mean you have something stuck in your teeth and they want to point it out to their friends. Keep in mind that you are the Enemy. The one person who they have to listen to after breakfast and the one keeping them from lunch. You just made them study all night for a subject they think is irrelevant to their lives. And then you graded them on it. Any sane person would know that these people would beat you up if they could get away with it. But then you are a teacher; so sanity is a luxury you cannot afford right now.
6. The Jokes Aren’t Funny…
They never were… If the students are laughing, its probably because they thought they had to. The way you nervously laugh at the jokes a person with a mental illness or your boss might make. Sorry, but you are not funny. Your sense of humour is outdated and probably inane to these guys. They do not listen to any of it. And if one of them did, its probably the annoying student who takes all the notes and tops the class each time. Of course, She or He thinks the sarcastic thing you just said is a critical part of the curriculum. And then asks you doubts…
7. The Students Do Not Want Save The World…
They only want to go home at the end of the day. Give them that, will you?
They just spent eight hours a day listening to four people who love the sound of their voices talk about things they don’t care about. They are tired of being told how they are the Future and they must “Do Something”. They don’t want to. The vast majority of them lead perfectly contented lives that would most likely be disrupted by any improvement in the status quo. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The guys who actually want to change things will probably end up becoming Terrorists, or even worse – Politicians!
8. You Are Forgettable…
All teachers have the following fantasy –
a) They will bump into their students at the market or at a movie or some other suitable public space with lots of witnesses
b) the student will run towards them in joy and nostalgia
c)Then the humble student will thank them for changing their lives; preferably with tears in their eyes in front of the above witnesses. A little clapping would not be out of place. But swelling background music would be a little too much.
By now, you should know that that would never happen. The best you can really wish for is that the former student doesn’t remember that you didn’t give him a good grade for his assignment and then yells at you for it. But mostly, like other wildlife; they will leave you alone if you leave them alone.
9. Being Lenient Does Not Make You Popular…
Much like other long oppressed populations, students are confused by the sudden imposition of freedom. Having been recently liberated by your magnanimous (and pompous) gestures, they quickly revert back to their original state of fear and withdrawal. All attempts to point out the many advantages that your new liberal regime results only in more ambivalence and confusion. Until someone realises that in your desperation to be acknowledged their saviour; you have opened a few too many gates, and take advantage of your naivete to cut classes and slack off… That’s when you reinstate martial law. And that’s when they hate you all over again…
10. Socrates Was An Idiot…
Western Philosophy, especially Plato, has long preached that Questions are the best way to teach. The fabled Socratic Method of asking the students questions as a way of provoking them to seek truth themselves is the stuff of pedagogic legend. It doesn’t work. Most students are either bored, sleeping or far too fascinated by their fingernails to pay attention to your questions. If you call on them yourself, you are subjecting an unwilling individual to questioning., That’s not teaching. That’s an interrogation. Moving on to the next student will not help either; they have just learnt that you will eventually give up and move on. So, as experts in Game theory, they see no incentive in participating. And you end up with a quiet, tense classroom that is very irritated with you for having disturbed the peace. Also, its important to remember that Socrates was eventually forced to kill himself after he asked too many questions. I’m pretty sure some of the people who sentenced him were his students.

I’m too scared to ask…

11. Students Study You, Not The Subject
Yup! There is no way around it. Every student believes that the only way to get a good grade is to reproduce your words in their papers and exams. Further enquiry is unnecessary and just a waste of valuable time. If ever a student asks a question, it will usually be about your opinions rather than about any relevant information. Also, they will be conducting a fairly detailed enquiry into your personal life hoping to find clues as to your biases and how to exploit them. They are usually severely disappointed if their conclusions are wrong. Like all good scientists, they go back to the data and try to identify patterns that they can use to juice up their grade.
12. The Student Is Like Schrodinger’s Cat…
I’m not saying that it actually happened; but consider this thought experiment –
a) A teacher steps onto a dais at a lecture theatre
b) The talk goes on for one hour
c) The teacher calls for a break and heads to the bathroom
d) He finds that his fly has been down the entire time he as been talking and no one has pointed it out
e) Shaken, he heads back and delivers his second hour of lecture.
This should lead us to two possible inferences
I. The students noticed the Wardrobe Malfunction and decided to let the idiot embarrass himself for a full hour.
II. The students just did not notice because the the teacher was just not that interesting.
It’s impossible to know which of the two inferences is correct without actually enquiring with the students and profoundly embarrassing yourself.
So, the Zip exists in a quantum state, simultaneously seen and unseen; as unknowable as the Universe, Life & Everything Else…
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Discussion

3 thoughts on ““Your Fly Is Down!!!” – That & Other Important Things You Should Know While Teaching A Class…

  1. Absolutely! That was extremely hilarious and it makes sense.

    Posted by Montessori Play School | May 24, 2018, 6:37 pm
  2. We have been through the “Jokes not so funny” part

    Posted by International residential school | October 30, 2018, 6:09 pm

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