Dear RBOC,

  • Dear students, The time to ask questions because you’re not keeping up is when I ask, “Any questions?  Has everybody gotten this file open?  If not, I can come over and show you how right now,” especially if I’m walking around the room while I say this.  The time to ask questions is not right after class, especially not, “Could you go through the last 20 min of class again right now because I was never able to get that file open?”
  • p.s.  The time to ask about questions on the homework is not right before it’s due.
  • Dear Students, If you’ve already taken a class on this topic that is more difficult than this intro course and you got an A in it, then yes, you should waive it.  Even if you took that course 2 years ago.  Honest.  You will be bored stiff in this class and you will make everyone who needs to take it nervous.  Seriously, this is a remedial class.  Please waive it!
  • p.s. When your HW says it is due on labor day, and all your friends are saying, “See you on Monday,” it might be a good time to check the school’s academic calendar before taking a three day weekend.  Just sayin’.
  • Dear Colleague, I’m not sure how to respond to your email, “I was talking with an alumni yesterday and he said that you were his favorite professor here, although he is pretty sure he was not one of your favorite students.”  So I think I’ll just delete that.
  • Dear Colleague, if you have someone from NSF visiting campus and you want people to meet with them, you need to tell us before the day on which it’s happening!
  • Dear random mother at the library, you are wrong when you tell your son that the book he picked out himself is too girly and he has to put it back and choose another one instead.  (And then you tell him that the second book he picked out is too difficult.  Why did you let him have the illusion of choice in the first place?)  And no, I don’t feel guilty about judging you on gender issues.
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9 Responses to “Dear RBOC,”

  1. Cloud Says:

    Oh, that poor kid in the library. I think the only reason we say no to books the kids pick themselves is because we have too many!

    And your school had class on Labor Day? That’s… weird. But yeah, check the calendar folks. Of course, now that I have kids in public school I check their academic calendar more to discover what random days I’ll be taking off… We have 6 extra half days this year so the teachers can work on figuring out how they’re going to teach the new Common Core curriculum. Because of course we weren’t willing to pay them to do that in the summer or something like that.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      A younger me would have said something. (A much younger me chewed out an insecure little man at a museum who was screaming and accusing his young son of being a daughter for asking for a pendant. I pointed out that my boyfriend was 6 feet tall and extremely manly and owned pendants. Oddly he just spluttered at me and didn’t actually attack… could have gone much worse.) This me was busy with DC2 and didn’t see what the book was, even though she thinks that “too girly” is a bad reason to say even if it’s not the true reason, and no longer tries to fix other people unless they’re students with math anxiety.

      • bogart Says:

        Oh oof, to that mom. Really? Really? (That is directed at her and the world in general, and possibly, today, the U.S. House of Representatives or at least some of its members, but not at you).

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We shake our tiny fists at the patriarchy. But, you know, silently.

      • Donna Freedman Says:

        My nephew wears skirts and dresses probably 75% of the time. Since he’s only 7, he still thinks it’s funny that people perceive him as a girl. (He identifies as a boy but likes what some would call “girly” stuff: dolls, the color pink, Hello Kitty, nail polish, jewelry and, yeah, skirts and dresses.)
        He hasn’t figured out that people make all SORTS of judgments based upon a quick first glance. That will come soon enough. Sigh.

  2. Ana Says:

    What happened to me (recently, doing my Masters) was that the academic calendar listed “Fall Break” for the university so I took a day off of work for a 3-day weekend, yet my actual CLASS was still in session. So, I guess the thing I should’ve done was pester my professors about the schedule to make sure I didn’t miss a class? (there was no class schedule on the syllabus, just dates for assignments and tests).
    Also, shame on that mother at the library (and all the parents like her reinforcing ridiculously outdated and harmful to both sexes gender roles!) I say no to books at the library mainly because I hate them and I’m the one who has to read them (i.e. Thomas the train books “based on the movies/TV shows” or the original 80+ page Curious George books…oh yeah also Calilou)

    • rented life Says:

      This reminds me of one semester where the calendar had two different spring breaks listed–one for night classes, another for day classes, resulting in no real break for anyone. Personally I always list “No class” and the date on days that are supposed to be “off.”

  3. rented life Says:

    I’ve wanted to yell at parents a few times at the book store for telling their kids no to books for a variety of reasons. “You need to read a series, you can’t buy books that won’t be in a series,” was my recent pet peeve because this is lazy parenting–if the kid is reading a series they can just buy a bunch of books, but if it’s a one off, what will they read next? the horror. Husband said he saw that kind of stuff ALL the time working at chain bookstore. Also saw people stubbornly sticking to the “age suggestions” even if the kid complained they were bored. :(


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