Friday, October 15, 2010

The Drop And Go Strategy

This semester I am doing what Springsteen did in the late-70s, when he scaled up from clubs to arenas. Well, kind of...

As a professor, I have for the most part been teaching small classes that are capped at twenty students. This semester, however, I'm standing twice a week in front of an auditorium filled with more than a hundred students. (Or, more accurately, the proportion of those students who actually show up for a given lecture.)

And so it was with curiosity that I watched what happened the other day, when the first assignment of the semester was due to be handed in. Theoretically, I should have had a full house, as I required the students to turn in hard copies at the beginning of class.

My naivete was shattered when I immediately observed students walking in, laying their paper down on the pile, and then turning around and marching straight out the main aisle and door. (Is this like the equivalent of all of those beer drinkers who head for the bathroom as soon as Bruce kicks into a slow song?)

Other students were less blatant about their intentions. There are side doors and stairways that allow for more discrete exits. Sure enough, those pathways proved to be rather popular.

And then there were the students who, after turning in their papers, found seats in the auditorium...only to get up and leave as soon as it appeared as if my eyes were averted.

Good thing I don't take stuff like this personally! (Do you think I should?)

~Steve

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