08 January, 2014

Some Like It Not

I want a gong (that's a G not a B).

In a couple of weeks I'll begin my last semester as a professor. There will be lots to miss, of course, but there are some things I won't miss a bit. As I begin to anticipate the return of the students and my faculty colleagues, it’s become quite clear that my academic life would be better if I had a gong.

Just think of all the situations in which it would be useful. Last fall when a student appropriately raised his hand to ask a question, I was thrilled to have a question. When I called on him, he asked me if I could go back to the previous PowerPoint slide. "Sure." And I did. It was a slide for which I had just spent about ten minutes covering several points that all inter-related really well.

Then, when I wondered if he had a question about it, he asked if I could explain the whole slide. Somewhat irritated, I asked if he was listening when I covered the material the first time. He said, "No." So I said, "No. You should have been listening." That’s when I needed the gong. Bongggg!!. (Now it's a B and not a G. English is like that. Gongs make bongs.)

It would have been nice too if a hook came around the corner and dragged him into the hallway where three UC Ambassadors from the Admissions Office beat the living daylights out of him, but I suppose that would be too much to ask. I’m not sure the Media Center is going to supply the gong anyway, but I should ask anyway.

And those faculty meetings! I don’t normally have a problem with attending meetings, certainly not if they are the least bit productive. I’ve noticed over the last few years, however, that productivity at these meetings has declined in direct proportion to the increasing number of colleagues who like to listen to themselves speak - even when they have nothing of consequence to add to the discussion.

The first time I hear a point repeated for the fourth time - Bongggg!! – and here would come the hook to drag them into the hallway where three UC Ambassadors from the Admissions Office would beat the living daylights out of them. If we had done that when they were students, we wouldn't have this problem today.

Who am I kidding? I’ll never get the gong past the metal detectors anyway. Oh, you didn’t hear about those? I guess you weren't paying attention at the meeting where ...