The pain though—as I said—is probably mostly mine. An occasional student, with some sort of authority issue, might be hurt at the idea that the university professor could give a hoot about the students’ view of nearly anything. In any case, if they are hurt, the pain doesn’t last too long; they buckle under and get busy mastering their regurgitation skills.
I attended part one of the introduction to biology sequence for four or five years. This was a few years before the laptop and the data projector came along The lecture was held in a hall that could seat 800 and was used for dance troupes and public speakers. The biology professors had a double barrel shot gun two overheard projector approach. The professor would talk though his overhead projected on the back of the huge stage, and when he was done with that overhead, he would walk clear acrross the stage and put it on another data projector, so the students who hadn’t been able to keep up with his speaking of the first overhead, could continue to copy from the first overhead as he launched into the next one.
This course started at 8 in the morning and was ungodly boring. The lights were usually dimmed, and I think that was the first time I observed a student reading the campus newspaper in the dark. I sat there consternated. Why, the hell was this student sitting there in the dark trying to read the newspaper. (A) why was he sitting there and NOT taking notes because (B) I could see no other possible reason for being there. And (C) instead of taking notes (C) why was he reading the student newspaper with (D) inadequate light when (E) right outside one could find plenty of light if (F) one wished to read the newspaper.
This student’s strange behavior made less sense than that of the student, a couple of rows, back who, his head flung back, was sawing wood. Sleeping in the dark made sense though certainly sleeping in one of those seats didn’t.
One morning sitting in this class I became aware of clicking sounds. Many, many clicking sounds. I thought, oh my god, perhaps the clicking sounds are the beginning of some sort of student rebellion. Perhaps a form of passive resistance or protest against the miserable lectures. The faster the professor talked the more the clicking went on. I wondered if the professor could hear the clicking and interpreted it as a sign of rebellion.
Boy was I stupid. Because when I asked biology students in my research paper class about the clicking, one of them took out a pen, and clicked it. Red ink, he said. He clicked it again. Blue ink. And another click produced yellow ink. And final click: black ink. So somebody had made a pen for hyper diligent students that allowed them to use one pen to take their notes in three different ink colors. No they had not been rebelling; they were honing their memorize and repeat skills.