Monday, March 03, 2008

Jokes Build Goodwill

Prop.Prof Krier has a peculiar way of teaching. His classes resemble math classes, with him drilling the students on the problems from the night before. It gives me panic attacks (not the drilling, the mathematical similarities), but I understand how it can be an effective teaching method.

Last week we had a particularly brutal class. It was obvious that only a few were prepared, and those who weren't prepared were drilled into the ground, head first. It looked like it hurt. The class ended on sort of a tense note, and we all just wanted to leave.

Cut to the next class. Prop.Prof comes in and apologizes. He says that he's only hard on us because he respects our ability to do the work. He mentions the fact that he's new to Alabama (he came from Michigan) and maybe we do things a bit differently here, and he'd try to conform to the level of politeness that he sees in Alabama.

Student A, who only has a reputation for being a super nice guy and very hard worker, stands up.

"I don't know what you're thinking up there, but where I come from we treat everyone right. You're talking down to us right now, and I don't want to take it anymore."

Student A shuts his book and stomps out of the room, saying "I'm not going to take it anymore." Stunned, everyone looks around for a clue about what we should do.

Prop.Prof: "Well, if anyone else feels the same way, go ahead and leave."

No one moves. Prop.Prof starts teaching again. A full two minutes of awkwardness later, Student A pops his head in the door and says "HA! It was all a joke. Prop.Prof Krier was in on it!"

My thoughts on this: It was a brilliant strategy to build goodwill for Prop.Prof after we had such a brutal previous class. If he's cool enough to play a joke on a whole class, he must be cool in other ways.

Other thoughts: After the NIU thing, there were probably better words they could have chosen than "I'm not gonna take this anymore." Also, the whole class disturbance thing could have been frightening.

Full disclosure: I wasn't there. I'm just hearing this second-hand and describing it based on my knowledge of the people involved.

In the end, nothing bad happened and goodwill for Prop.Prof Krier is restored. So, good work everybody.

1 comment:

Summer said...

sounds like a pretty cool prof