Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Professor Holds Students Hostage: Forces Class Participation

Authorities were notified Wednesday that Professor P., a faculty member in the psychology department at a small private university in Pennsylvania, actually attempted to force his students to participate in class activities. Some witnesses reported that Dr. P. even attempted to get some students to answer a question out loud during lecture.

“I wasn’t really scared,” stated Melissa T., a student of Dr. P’s, “That is, not until he tried to make eye contact with me after asking a question about the chapter we were supposed to have read. Then things really started to get out of control. It was like he expected us to have really read it!”

Other victims from the class reported similar odd behaviors from Dr. P. as the early calm of class quickly turned into the ugly hostage crisis.

“I paid a lot of money for this course,” said Scott M. “If I want to talk to my friend about alcohol and sports during class, that’s my right! I’ll pay better attention as soon as the class gets interesting. As I see it, there’s no point in learning something if it isn’t interesting.” Other victims of Dr. P.’s class agreed.

“What’s the big deal if I’m texting my friends during class?” asked James D. “That’s no reason for the professor to pick on me! He should just mind his own business during class and try not to bother the students while he’s lecturing.”

Probably the most stunning report from among the hostages came from Jocelyn G. who was in the room almost by mistake. Apparently, a “friend” had tricked her into taking Dr. P. “It was, like, the worst experience of my life!” Jocelyn explained. “College isn’t about students talking to professors; it’s about the professors talking to the students! Dr. P. was acting all like, ‘you guys need to put some effort into learning this material’ but it’s like he’s the one getting paid to teach us! The whole idea of tuition is that the students are paying the professors to teach. I wouldn’t hire a car mechanic and then expect to fix the car myself!”

Many of the hostage victims reported similar views, but what may be the saddest tale came from poor Nicole A. who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. “Normally, like, I skip this class, but, like, today my dorm room was just too cold to sleep in, so, like, I decided to see if I could take a nap during the lecture. I’ve done it, like, many times before, so I never suspected that the day would turn out this way! There wasn’t more than fifteen minutes of good nap time the whole fifty minutes we were in there!”

Fortunately, students were able to “talk Dr. P. down” at about 1:49pm after a heroic attempt was made to locate a copy of the course syllabus. The hostages were able to remind Dr. P. that he had office hours starting at 2:00pm.

Campus authorities finally caught up to Dr. P. in his office a few hours later. They were relieved to find that he was alone. The fear had been that students seeking extra help outside of class might have been in danger of being required to think while in Dr. P.’s office. However, the security team had no reason to worry. As usual, Dr. P. was left alone the entire one hundred and fifty minutes of his scheduled office hours. Police report that when they asked Dr. P. why he was still in his office even after his official office hours had elapsed, he naively replied, “In case students need help, but couldn’t make my posted hours.”

Professor B., who has an office next to Dr. P., provided this insightful comment regarding the possible cause of Dr. P's breakdown: "He was probably unable to accept the paradox that most students today don't come to college to learn. They come here to get their degrees."

Calls to Dr. P. for his side of this bizarre story were not made. Although his contact information is on the course syllabus. The only student who had kept a copy of the syllabus had to drive home early because her roommate’s grandmother had a sick neighbor.