STUDENT SUBMITTED STORY: My junior year of college I needed to take a 200 level philosophy class to satisfy my university’s core curriculum requirements. My teacher, who had recently been introduced to her first tiny bit of fame from publishing a book chronicling the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq in the years prior to the Iraq War, would ramble on for the entire 2 and a half hour lecture every Wednesday about some barely relevant human rights issue that she choose.One week it would be Nuremberg Trials, the next the Geneva Convention; apartheid; AIDS; Nicaraguan property rights; and then, submarine warfare during WWII. Professor G: Under the widely understood rules of engagement during WWII it became routine for submarines to sink battleships and destroyers and not resurface to hunt for survivors. In the ensuing treaty negotiations the issue of submarine warfare become a topic both the Allies and Axis had little interest in discussing as both had committed atrocities on their respective sides. Must we not therefore hold ourselves equally responsible for human rights violations in wartime just as the Germans themselves argued during their defense in the trials at Nuremberg. (At this point she is basically grinning from ear to ear, as she has somehow, miraculously, managed to relate her ramblings from today’s class to lass week’s seemingly acid-induced lecture) Me: “Professor, I have read that WWII era submarines, operating at standard depth-charge depth would take a minimum of two hours to surface. By that point, most of the survivors would have drowned having sustained serious injuries; the men on fire in the burning gasoline and oil would have been, at the luckiest, permanently scarred; and most likely another ship would have responded to the sunken ship’s distress call. If you’re stupid enough to surface to look for survivors with a destroyer eying you down you deserve to get blown out of the water. Professor G: …… Okay.
Another example of a teacher deploying the Power of Need:
Teacher: Do you know if the summer school gradebooks and class pages will be available soon?
IT Guy: I can’t upload those until the schedule for next year is complete. I will send them out as soon as I can.
Teacher: When will that be?
IT Guy: Not sure. Ask the schedule person.
Teacher: Ok. But I really NEED to work on those class pages
IT Guy: Gotcha. Ask the scheduling person. I can’t do it till they are finished.
Teacher: Ok. But do you think the schedule will be done soon.
IT Guy: I have no idea. Ask the scheduling person.
Teacher: I will but I just really NEED to get a head start. Let me tell you why….
IT Guy: No. Don’t tell me why….it is entirely moot. I can not do anything until the schedule is done. The amount of NEED is entirely irrelevant. We have gone over this three times.
Teacher: But you don’t understand. Let me tell you why I NEED them.
IT Guy: NO! It has no bearing on you getting them. At this moment the options are not having classes next year or you having your stupid class pages three weeks in advance so you can add ridiculous animated pictures of Einstein blowing himself up. Essentially, we would destroy our school to save you the 2.4 minutes it takes to add those stupid animations. Try medication instead.
In my time working at a school I have discovered that teachers are for the most part pack animals. Everything they do is in some sort of little group. This is evidenced by the fact any time a teacher has a computer issue five other people will report it before the person with the actual problem. Sadly, the actual issue the other pack members report is almost never the real problem.
It usually unfolds something like this:
IT Guy, did you hear Mrs. X is having trouble with their online gradebooks
that usually morphs into something like
IT Guy, Mrs. X can not turn on her computer because she has a virus
followed by the catch all diagnosis
IT Guy, the server must be down
This syndrome reminds of the famous Purple Monkey Dishwasher scene from the Simpsons.
IT Guy: I am pretty busy. Can’t you do it?
Teacher: I don’t know how
IT Guy: Do you know how to plug in your toaster?
IT Guy: then I think you can handle this
Teacher: Hi, I just wanted to check that our new group web page will work
IT Guy: What do you mean work?
Teacher: On the system?
IT Guy: The system?
Teacher: Yeah, our new web page
IT Guy: What are we talking about?
Teacher: I want to know if our webpage will work at school?
IT Guy: Are you asking me if you can view a webpage at school?
Teacher: yes…..our new one.
IT Guy: Yes. We have internet access.