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Students in Space

August 9, 2010
August means the start of my new class; how crap moves in space. Or maybe Orbital Dynamics would be the formal version. It’s worth mentioning my professor looks (and sounds) like an older Pavel Chekov (aka Walter Koenig). He hasn’t asked about any enemy wessels yet but it’s only a matter of time.
I paid fantastically wonderful $15 for a new copy of the textbook. Some loud mouth student in front keeps complaining why we don’t use this book, which looks to be somewhat basic on a lot of things but also not go into as much detail on orbit-specific topics. Not to mention it’s $75 through Amazon and probably would be $100 through the bookstore. Same loud mouth student keeps interrupting the professor to “correct” him on the way he is explaining things, and has questioned equations from the book. Only after an extremely polite explanation from the professor does he finally admit, very loudly and to the rest of the class, that he was wrong. Like I listened to his post-class student-led “i like the sound of my own voice” discussions anyways. Apparently he learned from the other book, and I understand the difficulty of learning the same topics but from a different book and/or professor and having to learn things in a different way than you did the first time. It can be very frustrating. You want to go back and consult your old book and nestle in the safety of its familiarity.
But the tone of arrogance in correcting a professor with likely decades of experience in not only learning these topics but teaching them multiple times is about ready to knock me over. It’s not that I think professors are infallible, and if there’s an error on the board I think someone should point it out. But to question the method teaching something that you have likely never learned in full before, and you are an undergrad, and you have never taught before, simply blows my mind. I’m waffling between saying something polite about how his questions interrupt my ability to learn and asking him to save “discussion section” questions for the professor’s office hours, or the more satisfying alternative of throwing paper rockets at him and asking him if he’s majoring in douchebaggery or suggest that if he knows the material so well he doesn’t need to take the class and ruin the experience for the rest of us. Every time I’m in class with an irritating student I tell myself that the one time I decide to say something will probably be the one student I have to work with on a senior project, so I’m trying to behave and say nothing at all. But it’s really difficult.
One Comment leave one →
  1. August 11, 2010 4:07 pm

    My. Biggest. Pet. Peeve. Ever.Seriously, if you're that damned smart, get the hell out.(I hope the swearing doesn't offend, but that's what I would say.):-)I guess I'm too unsure of myself to behave that way. I make stupid math errors and then ask questions and look stupid in front of the class all the time. But I guess I fear looking conceited even more than looking stupid. If I feel like I have a valid reason to correct a professor (unless it's in error in the equation), I will often wait until after class and ask them about it.

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