Day 1: the impression

Hands raised in classroom

What we like to see

I am always amazed by just how energetic the class seems at the start. I thought the class was pretty responsive; lots of hands up when I asked questions, a really good sign at the beginning. I got across most of what I wanted (not classroom etiquette, which I want to do properly on Thursday). I hope I got across that this course is different from anything they’ve had before and, if they like to cram, regurgitate and want an easy A, they should go find another course. Each year I feel that more strongly. I’d prefer to teach 20 who are receptive to my way than 350 who play on their phones and moan when they don’t get an A. I implore those students: please quit my class now. There’s a wait list. Give other¬†students a shot if you don’t want it.

My only worry was that I could already hear the whispering. The acoustics in the room are awesome. Trouble a-brewing I bet. Maybe my classroom etiquette session on Thursday will deal with it. Plan B is to randomly allocate the students to seats (thereby splitting up the perpetrators). Thursday, I’ll raise that prospect and get a vote on it, and then maybe votes later in the year if the problem grows. It should be possible to re-randomize once a month. Might be good for all of us.

1 thought on “Day 1: the impression

  1. Andrew Read

    My exhortation to quit my class if you don’t like the sound of it led to the loss of 11 students, who were immediately replaced by 11 on the wait list.

    The message I put up on the big screen on Day 1:
    If you came to Penn State to do something other than learn to think, go do another class: you are taking someone’s place

    Reply

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