This Class Just Went Atomic

, , , , | Learning | June 14, 2017

(I’m TAing a freshman physics class. The professor is brand new, and since he’s still learning his way around a classroom, I’ve been asked to write up my thoughts on his teaching. We’re coming up to the end of the semester, and he’s had a rocky year, but has improved a lot this semester.)

Professor: “Now, does anyone have any questions?”

Student #1: “Yeah, uh… can I ask a question that’s not related to the class?”

Professor: “I suppose so.”

Student #1: “You worked for the government before you came here, right?”

Professor: “Yes, I did. I worked for the Air Force, and for National Institutes of Health, and then–”

Student #1: “But what did you DO?”

Professor: *quiet for a second* “I’m afraid I can’t answer that.”

Class: *intrigued murmurs*

Professor: “Look, I decided to teach so I could get away from some aspects of –”

Student #2: “CAN YOU TEACH US ABOUT NUCLEAR BOMBS?”

Professor: “Uh…”

Student #2: “CAN YOU TEACH US ABOUT NUCLEAR BOMBS IF WE DO GOOD ON THE FINAL?”

Professor: “Fine.”

(The last day of class is supposed to be a debrief of the final exam and question-and-answer time. However, when it arrives…)

Professor: *showing a slide that says ‘TOPIC ONE: FINAL EXAM SCORES’* “I’m sure all of you are excited to find out how you did on the exam. The median was a 94. The highest was 100, and the lowest, I’m very happy to say, was an 89. I’m very pleased with these results.”

(He advances to the next slide: ‘TOPIC TWO: HISTORY, DESIGN, AND THEORY OF ATOMIC WEAPONRY,’ and the class cheers wildly.)

Professor: “As [Student #2] would say: you did good.”

(After the class ends, the TAs are helping him pack up the classroom. When the last of the students have left…)

Professor: “If any of them Google my name, they’re going to work out that I spent my life improving the design of safety railings. How long do you think I can keep up the mysterious government agent act?”

(We all scored him well.

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