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May. 4th, 2012

Thanks for coming in. We'd gotten some comments in your student evaluations --- no, the evaluations the students write --- oh, you didn't? Well, I'm pretty sure they were talking about you, and --- well, no, we haven't looked at this semester's results yet, but we were getting e-mails. Right. But we appreciate --- right, I appreciate, but I'm sure there are other people who appreciate it too --- your making the time to come chat with ... er ... no, I don't imagine you have the power to literally create time.

So it's going to be one of these?

Fine. You maybe guessed we got a lot of comments about your Roman and Arabic numerals project. Yes, I'm sure your little roleplaying of being 12th-century Italian merchants helped communicate the differences between the different ways of writing numbers. Yes, I've heard no end of students talking about it. There were people just walking past the hall who came over to tell us what was going on. No, they're not all snitches. No, I don't think they're all envious of your collection of tunics and ... what did you call them? Garbmentation? I'm pretty sure that's not a word. No, even if you did patent it. ... If you filed for a patent on it. ... Really? I didn't know patent attorneys threw things at people. ... No, that doesn't make me like you more.

Yeah, we're off point. Yeah, I agree, when you've got everybody in costume and made this little marketplace and got them doing things to Roman numerals you can't suddenly halt it. The objection is you kept the class long ... no, a couple minutes isn't a problem, but, twelve days? You don't see any problem? All right, how about with the students who sent a trireme out in search of the spice islands?

No, the anachronisms didn't bother me. No, I didn't mind how they formed a joint stock corporation, and ... they did? Nutmeg and saffron? No, nobody mentioned ... look, between that and the campanile they're building in the study lounge, your little demonstration of numerals got away from how you were supposed to be teaching English Composition. Do you know how many students haven't got any idea on which end of a predicate you put a gerund? ... No, I don't either, but they're the ones paying to find out.

I --- cardamom too? Huh --- I understand the dynamics of a small class like your roster's can be in some ways more challenging than those of a larger class, and I appreciate your wanting to increase enrollment. But forcefully annexing Doctor McDall's class was beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior, particularly given the Faculty Senate's resolution to give sanctions time to take effect. And, no, I don't agree that he was trying to trick you into taking the harder students. Maybe they didn't take an English Composition class because they didn't want to open new trade routes to the Bayter Mills satellite campus. Actually, I do agree with their wanting to leave in those circumstances.

Which brings up the next item, handling student walk-outs. I agree they're frustrating and embarrassing and you should try keeping them in their seats. But that doesn't mean you can just glue their pants to the seats. ... You didn't? ... You ... used ... nails ... instead. Hold on, how could that even work? No, I don't mean fabric nails, I mean, any student would have to notice ... I guess you're right, I don't know if I could nail quietly enough that I didn't wake someone up.

You're not doing that again? Good, because ... well, no, it didn't work, and all those pantsless students were causing embarrassment. No, to us. I'm not sure you're aware the day you unleashed this policy we were having evaluators from the accreditation agency and, we're just lucky we convinced the Mid-States people this was what we'd turned Senior Cut Day into. Yes, it got in the newspaper, the campus newspaper. ... No such thing as bad publicity? ... yeah, ask Roscoe Arbuckle. ... Fat ... Fatty Arbuckle ... he was ... forget it.

That reminds me, why are your students sleeping when they ought to be texting? Are you teaching in, like, 1998? It's attracting attention, that's what I'm saying.


Trivia: Dutch was Peter Minuit's second language. Source: The Island At The Centre Of The World, Russell Shorto.

Currently Reading: A New Jersey Anthology, Editor Maxine N Lurie.

PS: A Polynomial Of What? It's never enough for me to just give a simple answer. I have to give it the longest way around. Maybe a little longer still.


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