I’m Not Like Your Other Teachers

Go ahead and take your seats.

I’m not like your other teachers.

You will not see me wear a tweed jacket, and you don’t have to call me “Professor” or “Sir.” Just call me “Prof,” like you would to any of your friends who happen to hold a doctorate and teach people to pry open new doors of knowledge and perception.

WOAH! What was that? Anyone else see that? That was the old you leaving the room. The You that worried about deadlines, the You that talked about your GPA, the You that is scrambling for financial aid, or whatever it is that you do, just walked right out of the room. Wave goodbye to the old You, everyone. That’s right, actually wave, this guy’s got it. Welcome to the rest of your lives.

I am NOT like your other teachers.

I’m not going to play favorites. I value new opinions, and a good learning environment is one that can brook dissent. So don’t bother toadying up to me, or laughing loudly at my jokes, because it’s not going to help you get a better grade. If you disagree with me, go ahead and say so. If anyone thinks that’s a bad way to run a class, go ahead and tell me! I’m even open to the idea that I could be wrong about being so open and welcoming of new thoughts. You don’t get a grade by agreeing with me, and doing what I say. You EARN a grade by learning.

Since we’re on the topic of grades, part of your grade is going to be a mysterious “class participation” component that I will judge based off of my own tough criteria. And you know what they say about tough criteria: they’ll make you cry tear, ya? Those of you who laughed at that are already doing well at class participation. You’re the ones that really “get it.” If you want more class participation points, see me after class. I’ve got some papers that need to filed.

Now take your #2 pencils out. C’mon, I’m serious, take out your #2 pencils. As I walk through the room with this trashcan, I want you to chuck those #2 straitjackets right into the trash. Don’t be afraid, do it! In this class, you won’t be graded off of Scantron tests and other nonsense. I use AnswerSheet brand answer sheets for all of my multiple choice tests. The AnswerSheet scanner will only read #3 pencils, which you can find at any drafting or art supply store. You will find that the slightly harder lead is better for filling in bubbles.

Hey, here’s something you won’t hear from your other teachers: Sandwiches disgust me. Don’t eat them in class, don’t mention them. We cool?

That’s the sort of information I only share with friends. And we ARE friends now. I won’t learn your names, and I will actively avoid eye contact with you outside of class, but just think of me as one of your buds, albeit one who is uninterested in most of the things you have to say, and mysteriously has somewhere to be anytime you try and talk to me.

I know what everyone here is worried about, so let’s just get it out in the open. Unfortunately, thanks to the suits in the administration building, I am legally required to make you write papers. But since papers are so creatively stifling, I’ve been trying to make a point to the faculty Starched Collars by having every single student write his or her paper on the exact same topic: “Agrarian Policies of the Eastern Seaboard, 1600-1775.”

So far, in the past 5 years the self-styled Lords of Acadamia haven’t gotten the clue. But we’re going to keep fighting the good fight until those college bigwigs finally grok my point. Oh, and if your paper doesn’t tread any new ground, don’t expect higher than a D. I’ve seen it all, ladies and gentlemen. I’ve seen it all.

See that blackboard there? It’s really green. I’m going to call it a greenboard. Let’s all just call it like we see it, huh? Watch this: I’m going to take a piece of chalk (or should I say gypsum, because it’s not actually made of chalk: it’s primarily gypsum) and draw Snoopy. This isn’t art class, but I just drew Snoopy on the greenboard. ALL KNOWLEDGE IS INTERCONNECTED.

You’re going to hear me say that a lot in this class. The topic for the day’s lecture may be “Differential Bartering Systems,” but I may veer off 5 minutes into the lecture and start rapping at you about the Mets, how “Joshua Tree” is not only U2’s greatest record, but the greatest record since “Revolver,” or just some theories and characters I’ve been working on that may end up in my novel. Sure, I may not hit the lesson I was going to do, but you’ll learn something, I can tell you that much. ALL KNOWLEDGE IS INTERCONNECTED. The tests are based on the info I planned to cover in the lecture, not the stuff I actually covered in the lecture. Not sure how to help you there.

Oh, and no gum chewing or talking in class. Let’s be adults here, people.

Now I’m going to put on some Bob MAHRRRR-LEEEEY while you take your first quiz, which is based on this introductory lecture. I hope everyone’s purchased a #3 pencil by now. If not, put your head down until the end of class.

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