Classes (and Jokes)

I do believe that the faculty who teach us are well aware that we, as a batch in the final semester, are paying very, very little attention to what they are teaching. The subjects aren’t core papers, or as necessary as to amass widespread inherent interest among every student. One would understand the number of students whose interests are captured falling, especially given that we are on the cusp of completing our degree – but they’re dwindling. They’re so low, you can see people falling asleep or deciding to do their own thing in the classroom within 5 minutes of attendance being taken. I digress though. The force of this paragraph was meant to convey that the faculty know this information. They know that we care very little – but that we will pay attention if something is being communicated about portions, internals, or something else that’ll genuinely concern us.

Sometimes they adopt that strategy to get us to look up for a few minutes. Very unexpectedly, someone will say the words “Continuous Evaluation”, and for a couple of minutes everyone’s heads will shoot up. If nothing, to memorize the date when it’s due so you can ask the batch what is actually due the evening before the deadline – sometimes even the morning of. Or they’ll say the word “Internal” and all of a sudden you’ll be awoken from any slumber to try to understand if there’s an added component of work they’re going to make you do in final sem.

Some faculty are genuinely trying. We’re allowed to take laptops into class for drafting, which keeps you interested because there’s a bigger screen to stare at. That faculty is being super innovative. Apart from his usual quirkiness and sharing thoughts of the day with us (which are genuinely nice to watch), he’s been using technology to keep us engaged with what he’s teaching. Even if it doesn’t get the whole class hooked; it’s worth applauding the effort.

Today, however, I saw something that I think I’d like to practice if I ever get a teaching job. The art of the poor joke, executed to perfection. You see, a part of being in the last semester is a bunch of people leaving class citing various excuses – and not returning because there really is no incentive to return once you’ve left and veered out of class. One faculty sensed someone leaving – catching them just as they shut the door, and exclaimed “yeh dekho, pehli wicket gayi”

Now you see; there is no way for me to explain how fantastic her comic timing was on this joke. It was perfect. She also chose a cricket joke – which is universally understood in India. The best part was that she kept following it up with other cricket jokes: she drank water in the middle & called it her “drinks break”, and when she caught someone unsuccessfully sneaking out, she called it a “dropped catch”.

As you can tell, the jokes got worse as the class progressed. Nonetheless, it gave me material for this blog post, and caught my attention sufficiently such that I missed my mid-day snooze.

I wonder what the faculty will try tomorrow.

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