His classes were a bit tedious, bringing some students through periodic mental odium for the course. Comprehension seemed a steep hill to climb every session, and a soft unknown dread filled every thought of the next lesson. In some sort of desperation, trying to fathom the lessons and the man’s methods, some students, who’d fancied themselves brilliant enough to handle the rigour, but still out of sorts on the course, sought for comfort in texts of old, those that might’ve been used by that professor in his school days. “This course is hard” they retorted severally. To which their tutor responded with little spoken near disgust at their poor IQs and foundations. He’d thought the school had taken majority of the students for their money and nothing else. He knew so.
They we’re mere customers, devoid of aspiration beyond the certificate. We would give them what we would, and then the certificate if they passed. After all, it is what they think they need. He’d agreed to their statistical suitability using the science of admissions. That’s why they could be admitted in the first place. But his main irk was that they were too many for comfort, for standards—his standards. He’d been overruled by the need for money first. They needed money to pay his superstar salary—being a research titan—and buy equipment. These should directly translate to reputation, which they would sell for grants and like, use to justify higher tuition, and attract the most suitable students for their objectives. It’s the way the system works so we play the cycle as it is, pure business.
One day, a known face walked into the class. The students had seen him around. They’d heard of him: dry, exacting, serious and temperate, and also, extremely organised and brilliant. Soon they added effective teacher to this list. He was taking the latter part of the course as previously arranged. The students were soon sure that the first professor, whose lessons had been a hard book to read, had somehow contributed to their slow comprehension by his delivery. Maybe it was a way of making the best students stand out or inspiring something in the students that they didn’t immediately appreciate. That professor would go on to focus on his research, a scheduled conference, and other responsibilities.
After about an hour, he asked them to ‘take five.’ Instinctively, one student said, “please sir, continue, we’re not tired.” Then it hit the rest of the class. The new guy is good! He interrupted their murmurs and sudden conference. “I’m taking my five minutes break. You drink some water and chat or something.” The concepts, and ideas, and associated tasks in the course hadn’t got any easier, but they had a better teacher, a better tutor, and a better communicator. To his chagrin, they took him back to topics previously covered by the other professor; it upset him because it wasn’t efficient to do so. He balked. When he was threatened with incessant office visits, he advised that they should work hard at it and that it would be more efficient to treat those issues in a review class at his convenience. He was a stern man, almost military. He’d more or less issued a command, and that ended the matter.