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Student Who Needs Glasses Mistaken by Professor as Actually Engaged in Discussion


Photo by Justin Morgan / CC BY-SA 2.0 

On the first day of class, near-sighted student Hannah Nicol (C’ 19) showed up to her 10am anthropology lecture with a restored desire to save her feeble GPA and a begrudging willingness to actually do the readings. She didn't know that the professor had already assigned a chapter before class had begun.

Nicol started off in the back row. Then, after searching through her backpack, she realized that she had left her glasses in her apartment. So she quietly made her way to the front row, hoping for a better view. This was the first signal to Professor Kahn, who took the move as a sign that myopic Nicol might be interested in the discussion.

Nicol made her second mistake about five minutes later, when she squinted up at the board to copy down Professor Kahn’s horrible handwriting into her notebook. “Now, what conclusions can we draw from Collins research?” Kahn asked as he looked around the room, his gaze scanning over a junior adjusting his Sixers hat, a freshman texting her friend about bumping into her NSO hookup, and a student whose furious nose-itching bordered on nose-picking before finally landing on Nicol, mistaking her poorly-timed squint for a desire to actually participate in the discussion.

“Hannah?” he asked, expecting her to offer a critically engaging point of view on a reading she had failed to complete. “I honestly didn’t know what to say,” Nicol told us afterwards, “So I just went with the old ‘I didn’t understand the reading at all – plus Sara took my comment, I was totally going to say what she just said.’

Professor Kahn bought it, even though there is no one named Sara taking the course. When class ended, he tried to hand Nicol the next reading, but she ignored him and immediately opened PenninTouch to drop the course.

After hearing the truth about Nicol, Professor Kahn is reportedly considering banning glasses in his classroom, to encourage students to sit in the front and to trick himself into believing that they are are invested in the material.