Time To Adopt Plan B

, , , , | Learning | October 16, 2017

(I balance my course load like this: Every semester I choose the highest-intensity class that I can get access to, and balance that class out with the lowest-intensity class available to me toward my degree. That way, I have a consistent workload all four years — I have half of my classes that require a lot of focus and time, while I can breeze through the other half of my work, instead of knocking out classes “in order” and burning myself out by junior and senior year with an increasingly difficult workload with no break. Because I did this, by my last year I am frequently the only senior in a 100-level class full of freshman, like this particular class. I have known this professor for over three years, while my classmates were meeting him for the first time. The professor assigns us into groups for a project with a loose schedule for presentations to be finished over the next two class periods. The day of the first presentations, many of us are in the classroom early before the professor arrives, and I hear muttering all around the room.)

Student #1: “Uh, hey, we’re not ready to present today; can we switch with you and go Thursday instead?”

Student #2:No! We’re not ready, either. Maybe Group D wants to go—”

Student #3: “No way! We’re scheduled to go Thursday, and we need that extra time!”

Me: “Oh, for Pete’s sake.” *addresses the whole room* “Who’s ready to present today?”

(One kid puts his hand up slowly, but his partner slaps it down. No other hands raise.)

Me: “All right, guys, I’ve got this. Watch and learn.”

(Everyone settles down in their seats and the professor arrives in the room.)

Me: “Hey, [Professor’s First Name], does [Professor’s Son] know he’s adopted?”

(The professor whips his head at me with a scandalized look on his face, and the class freezes, wondering what h*** I unleashed.)

Professor: “Does he… know? Are you serious? Of course he knows! He’s black! Look at me; I’m white and Jewish! And you’ve seen my wife… well…” *turns to class* “—you guys don’t know my wife, but [My Name] took my wife’s class last semester. She’s Irish! [Son] knows he’s adopted; are you crazy?”

Student: “Wait, you have an adopted son?”

Professor: *beaming* “Yeah! Actually two of our kids are adopted…”

(My professor then goes off on a string of stories about the foster kids he and his wife have raised and the two they’ve adopted and how much of a nightmare the foster system is, their biological kids, a few trips to Ireland they’ve taken as a family, and several anecdotes about the kids in general.)

Professor: “Oh! D*** it, it’s already 2:30. Who was supposed to present today? Well, we’ve got fifteen minutes left… Nah, screw it. I don’t want to rush you guys presenting; there won’t be time for feedback discussion after if we do that now. Tell you what. I’m shifting everyone forward a day; we’ll just cut class early. See you Thursday!”

(As we filtered out of the classroom, the “kids” and I exchanged a nod.)

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