Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Blogging in Class

Here it is, 2:19 in the afternoon, and I’m sitting in a Government 300 class so mind-numbingly boring that I’m literally having trouble keeping my eyes open.

In high school, teachers, with the exception of the annoying ones who prodded anyone caught looking away for the front of the room for even a fraction of a second, mostly turned a blind eye to the regular scene of a student sleeping at a desk. Occasionally an irate instructor would tell one of their drowsy pupils to wake up and pay attention, but the majority seemed to accept as a matter of course that teenagers were going to doze off periodically in any given period.

In college, this is not the case. Professors, much more so than teachers, have a tendency to take themselves very seriously, and are often given to the unfortunate habit of perceiving as a personal offense when each and every person present is not enthralled with their stultifying lecture on democratic theory, the history of big band music, or, in the case of the room in which I currently sit, statistics as it relates to Political Science.

I’ve literally watched, always with tremendous irritation, as an indignant undergraduate faculty member interrupted an entire class, more than once in a lecture hall with hundreds of attendees present, to haughtily chide a single person who had dared to close their eyes against the deluge of soulless, inhumanly uninteresting garbage pouring their way.

Hearing a pretentious professor’s injured cry of, “Excuse me, I’m trying to teach here” is one of the most obnoxious things I can summon to memory.

My Government 300 class manages to combine some of academia’s worst elements, being simultaneously deadening in its turgid language and infuriatingly-frustrating in the complexity with which its endless chains of numbers and formulas are presented.

My professor, a genuinely nice woman who thankfully has refrained from drawing notice to me when my chin occasionally dips into my chest during particularly tiresome presentations, stands at the front of the room chirping happily about a topic in which she is clearly very interested.

“So you see,” she says, her blue eyes flashing cheerily after she’s just gone through an impossibly-dense mass of material. “All you really have to do is this. It’s so easy!”

Several moments later, once she’s caught sight of our open mouths and anguished, near-suicidal expressions, she asks with equal suniness, “I’ve lost you, haven’t I?"

We all nod yes, too exhausted to do anything but sigh hopelessly, and she assures us with total confidence, “Oh, don’t worry, you’ll get it a few classes from now.”

It amazes me that, for as smart as she obviously is, she fails to pick up on the fact that she’s been saying this all semester and that it still hasn’t happened.

I’ll be lucky to pass this class (and, while I say that in a joking way, I really need to).

At least there’s a computer here, though; next I have to go to a Spanish class equally bereft of human joy but without the happy diversion of the Internet.

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