I Saved The World Today (Maybe)

This Bond University student was standing in the door of my office. He had this smug smile, and he was saying the magic words:

Robert, I pay, so I cannot fail.

I was already wondering what the insult of the day would be. But since it was only early in the morning, management was not awake enough to broadcast one of their self-adulating, intelligence-insulting all-staff emails. So this 20 year old won the daily race. Congrats.

And, in your course you do not give us a book. In all my previous courses I had in my life I got a book to learn from. How am I supposed to pass the exam?

Such a good question.

I responded that I have given the course now for the umptieth time without a book. And that the rumor goes that one or two students managed to pass, albeit under the most obscure circumstances. But that was years back. (Here it is important that you set up a completely straight face. You have to practice this anyway.)

He paused for several seconds which indicated a beginning learning process. Mind you, I am here to teach and edutain.

... but a book ...

I interrupted: "Isn't it more important that I show you the original sources, so the standards documents, and make them accessible for you? Instead of a stale copies in a McKinnon & McKinnon & McKinnon book?"

... but a book ...

"And if you care to attend my lecture and the labs, and also take notes there, you will get everything first-hand. That's all you need to pass the exam. Really."

I mumbled something about "this is about understanding, not learning", but that obviously did not hit home:

... but a book ...

"You are free to find any books which cover what I think is important." I interrupted him again. "And there are plenty of resources on the web site, too." I waited to let this sink in.

He paused. It's not over yet:

Robert, I do not think that you take my concerns seriously.

"I take every serious concern seriously." That is now the right moment for a Siamese smile.

He left. He paid. He failed.

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