The professor was late and showed up in sweaty gym clothes and carrying a racquetball racket. He never put it down during the class holding it and at times waving it around as he spoke. He started by sharing how he’d just come from playing racquetball and how much he liked it. No problem, I thought, here’s a guy who likes to work out right before class. Besides, I like it when professors sometimes stray and give personal details of their lives, it makes them more human and interesting.
He quickly started swearing, using the F word and other such words a lot. No problem I thought, he’s a man who swears. A lot! As he walked back and forth in front of the class, each time he’d swear, he’d stop, whip around with intense eyes and scan the class, asking if he’d offended anyone. Each time he seemed disappointed that no one reacted.
No problem I thought, here’s a guy who is trying to shock us and eager to get a rise out of us. But I was kind of hoping he’d get to the point, about the class topic he was going to teach. He didn’t.
Then for the whole long class, I noticed that he didn’t tell us where he’d be going with the class, he didn’t teach us a darn thing, he rambled and inserted 4-letter words. He told us swear words were just words. He seemed to be making up his speech as he went. There were periods of silence as he thought up what to tell us next about racquetball or how swearing was just words. And to please let him know if we were shocked. I was bored and becoming desperate for a little teaching. I took my college seriously. After class I asked him to sign my withdrawal.
“Did I say anything to offend you?” he asked looking at me intensely, studying me.
That was a laugh! -I’d been in a job for many years before college where I was used to hearing long strings of swear words that would have made this professor blush. OK, if I’m honest, I used to be pretty good at swearing myself.
“No” I said, “It’s just this class isn’t what I thought it would be.” I could’ve lived through the swear words and racquetball and stories if there’d been a shred of actual teaching involved. Any dust particle of teaching on whatever the course subject was about would have sufficed.
I came to the conclusion that this professor didn’t know or care about teaching the course topic. My time was precious to me. Besides, I could spare the college credits -I wasn’t stuck with him like some were.
Later, I asked an acquaintance who’d stayed in the class the whole semester if he ever actually taught anything. She said every class was like the first, boring and painful to sit though.
I’m not a perfectionist. I wasn’t expecting genius. But the professor didn’t even try.