Thursday, November 29, 2007

Love and hate

Notes from the classroom

One of my students said she loves me. I wonder if she meant it. Actually, to be more accurate, one of my former students said she loved me. To take even more of the bloom off the anecdote, it was certainly her “former” status that stimulated her declaration. It was like this, you see, as “Lisa” burst into the classroom:

“Oh, Dr. Z, I can't believe it! I can't believe it!”

“Believe what?” (But I was dissembling. I knew.)

“I really need this class! And you're such a great teacher!”

“Nice of you to say that, Lisa, but on what basis are you making that judgment? You haven't been here often enough to form an informed opinion.”

“Is that why you dropped me?”

“Of course. When I don't see a student for a few weeks, I assume she's lost interest in the class.”

“But I really need this class! Really!”

“It's traditional for students to attend the classes they really, really need. Right, Lisa?”

“Oh, Dr. Z, I'm so, so sorry, but you wouldn't believe all the complications I've had lately.”

She's probably right.

“Lisa, would you like to take our next exam with the class on Thursday?”

“Oh, Dr. Z, I love you!”

It's conceivable that she could do well on the exam and make it worthwhile to reinstate her in the class. It's also conceivable that aliens might kidnap her and make her the queen of their distant planet. Since it's an arithmetic class, and Lisa has trouble writing 6/10 in decimal notation, the odds might favor the Rigel VII coronation scenario.

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