In Theory, I Hate This Class

Education only works if someone cares

Professor —–,

The following is a hypothetical situation, but I think you’ll find it helpful in understanding my performance in class and how we can work together for our mutual benefit.

Let’s say I’m taking a class, the purpose of which is to equip me with a certain skill. For this exercise, let’s call the class “Literary Analysis in Arabic.” This class, like any class, is built upon the relationships between the student, the professor, and the material. In order for the class to successfully equip me to analyze literature in Arabic, one of several scenarios must happen (combinations are also possible):

A) I enjoy the professor and want to excel in order to make her proud.

B) I am passionate about Arabic literature and as such am driven to do well for the love of the material alone.

C) I am a mindless slave to grades and would sacrifice everything in order to get an A, regardless of my relationship to the professor or the material.

However, in this theoretical class, something interesting has (theoretically) happened. Not only do I not enjoy the professor, but I am also not particularly interested in the material, which is made up primarily of reading novels in Arabic, an act that takes grotesque amounts of time. Indeed, in theory, I determined while sitting in the very first session of this theoretical class that my time was better spent elsewhere doing something I enjoy and find useful instead of honing this skill which will likely go unused in the future and wasn’t all that lucrative to begin with, personally and financially.

At this theoretical juncture, it is clear that I’m not motivated to excel by the material itself or the professor, who theoretically I find overbearing yet absent. The only thing left to compel me to do well in this hypothetical course would be the promise of a good grade, a letter on a scrap of future-trash that means nothing to the rest of the world and to me would only signify the hours I wasted earning a clearly meaningless letter. Actually, I have theoretically found grades irrelevant and am no longer motivated by them.

Indeed, the only reason I have to continue attending this theoretical class is the desire to avoid personal embarrassment complete withdrawal might cause in addition to administrative issues that are not related to the subject matter or professor. In short, my theoretical motto for this class is, “I’m here but not interested. Please do not disturb.”

For that reason, the lackluster professor should theoretically avoid doing things like assigning a surprise presentation and then adding with a flourish that it will be done, “for a grade,” because theoretically I would sense a challenge. “What if I just didn’t do it? What if I just sat here and stared? Will you fail me? FAIL ME ALREADY!”

So in theory we should avoid doing that. But there’s nothing to say this theoretical situation could be a positive experience, with each one left with less work to do and more time to do the things she loves. In theory, this could be the best of every world.

Thanks for taking the time to hypothesize with me, Professor —–. If you have any questions please let me know. See you in class tomorrow!

Photo Credit: Grant Cochrane at

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6 thoughts on “In Theory, I Hate This Class

  1. i mayfly says:

    I vaguely recall a few classes like this. Not Arabic literature, but same teaching style. Your hypotheticals – very astute and smartly turned out.

    From the edge of old fartitude, I’ve become a bit of a philosopher instead of a passionate lightening rod. This is now my takeaway when I find myself trapped with a know-it-all, pompous asshole: Along life’s journey I will encounter, from time to time, jackasses. Some will be in the form of bosses, supervisors, co-workers. The classroom is a good opportunity to learn how to effectively deal with this challenge.The classroom is temporary and they really hold no irreversible sway over me,

    Or, if I am straddled with a jerk long term, I make up a back story. (Sorta like the Emperor with No Clothes). One particular suckup at work became my imaginary volunteer worker and then her “special privileges” made sense to me. Problem solved. I no longer went home and tore my husband’s head off as soon as I walked in the door. Bottom Line: she’s going to die; I’m going to die. I’ll have more fun; she’ll be a bitter, empty twit with no one to mourn her sorry ass.

    Or, I could love & forgive her despite her destructive ways – for the exact same reasons above.

    Or, write a hypothetical post to disperse all negative emotions generated by wasted energy.

    Looking back at this, hey, we’re holding all the cards!

    • edrevets says:

      Thank God for blogging and the wonders it’s done for dispelling accumulated energy in classes I’m disinterested in.

      Re: jackasses—sounds like solid advice. But why can’t they all die sooner and leave the rest of us non-jackasses to live happily? WHY?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. bonesdiary says:

    I find it best to ignore everything that everyone says, run around the fields at top speed, chew the furniture, chase cats, bite my dad…..hang on this is not great advice is it? This is just my life, up to you but its more fun than reading arabic literature.

  3. El Guapo says:

    Drop the class. Better than grabbing an incomplete or failing grade.
    Wish I’d done that a few times when I was in school…

    Or, learn all the material and ace all the coursework, but yawn loudly at the teacher everytime she looks your way…

    • edrevets says:

      The class may not be so bad after all. It looks like I’ll be able to to BS my way through 30 percent of the course and doodle the rest of the time since she doesn’t seem to mind enough to make me stop. As if she could anyways…..

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