What’s the oddest question a student has asked you?
#1: Well, my story here is probably too complicated a build-up for not enough payoff, but I’ll make up for it with the oddest question I’ve ever heard from when I was an undergrad in the next paragraph. Here’s my story: there was the time when we were talking about instrumental variables in class and we were talking about this instrument for divorce that is sex of the first child. (If you have a boy, you are less likely to get divorced.) So I ask the class how that instrument could be invalidated– the answer is if the child’s sex is correlated with other things that are correlated with divorce. So I talk about some research that has been done showing that people who cohabit are more likely to have one gender and those who don’t cohabit are more likely to have children of another gender. Which derails the class into explaining Taking Charge of Your Fertility and drawing girl and boy sperm on the board… (My other section did NOT get derailed like this.) Anyhow, after class in office hours a bunch of students start asking me about birth control! They never had it in high school because this is a God-fearing state. And one guy asks me about condom failure rates. (Thankfully students from the Midwest are able to clarify things so I don’t have to…)
Anyhow, the oddest question I ever heard. One of my math professors in an advanced analysis class asked if there were any questions after she finished a proof. One of my classmates asked, “Is it ok to get married to someone even if you don’t love her so long as she really loves you?” He did get married to her, and as a young undergraduate. I learned that it is better to have premarital sex than to get married to someone you don’t love because you’re concupiscent. Especially if you’re not allowed to divorce for the same reason you’re not allowed pre-marital sex.
#2: Ooh, ooh, I actually keep a list on this! Let me find it… Let’s see here…
“You seem so together. What’s weird about you?” (This is odd on many levels, trust me.)
“Do you like cheese?” Doesn’t everybody? Except lactose intolerant people. Poor things.
“Are you a hard grader?” What am I supposed to say?
“Why do you have to travel so much?” Wrong question. Right question: Why is our conference travel budget so small?
“How does your job affect your role as a family member? ” Gnrf.
“What is your weirdest talent?” uh…
“Are you a connoisseur of LOLCatz? ” Yes…
“Can we get email reminders about the homework in between classes?” No.
What’s the oddest question a student has ever asked you or another professor?