How To Take The Class Seriously: Throw The Book(s) At Them

, , , | Learning | February 17, 2019

(In my junior year of college, I sign up for a history class that fills a requirement for two different majors, as well as a general graduation requirement, so it hits the limit of thirty-five students very quickly. On the first day of class, the room is packed; clearly, someone had to drag in extra desks to fit in the tiny basement space.)

Professor: “Oh, dear, there are quite a lot of you. Anyway, I want you to read this book for next week’s class.” *holds up a 200- to 300-page book*

Student: “Which chapters?”

Professor: “All of it.”

(Things continue in this vein for the first half of the semester: reading a good-sized book a week, writing several essays that meet the professor’s demanding standards, participating in detailed discussions throughout the entire two-hour class period… you get the idea. All this is on top of the work we need to do for four to five other classes. One by one, people drop the course. By the time midterms roll around, there are only eight of us remaining. On the day of our midterm review, the professor sits down and looks around at the much-depleted class with the smuggest cat-that-ate-the-canary grin on his face.)

Professor: “So few… Much better.”

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