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OP-ED: Just Because You Have a Laser Pointer Doesn’t Mean You Are a Good Teacher


Photo by Son Nguyen / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Pointing it here and there, slashing it all around, computer science professor Hackar Mann loves his laser pointer.

“Every day, I look forward to giving the presentation of my slideshow," Mann said in an interview. "I love pointing my laser pointer at it. It gives me a confidence boost. I even use my laser pointer to point at students to call on them when they have a question. Sometimes I miss.”

There are currently 75 students enrolled in Mann’s computer science course, but just ten showed up to class the other day. Despite a lecture hall meant for a class of 100, all ten of them decided to sit in the back rows of the lecture hall. Their entranced eyes lazily followed the laser pointer around the screen. Occasionally, a student looked down and closed his eyes, surely exhausted by the optical exercises he had just done. 

“Who does he think we are? Cats?” said Engineering freshman Holden Trout. “All he does is point at his wall of text, and read it off to us, while pointing at it with his laser pointer.”

Despite his students' feelings, Mann insisted that he is one of the top teachers at Penn. 

“I have a laser pointer and a slideshow!” exclaimed Mann. “Therefore, I must be a good teacher. What more could students ask for? Real explanations? empathy?”