Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
21 February 2007

OK I admit my teaching may not have been at my best today. I’ve been suffering from the flu since Friday and am still hardly at my best. There was a moment in the tube on the way to my workshop that I thought I might throw up, but it passed. I may also have been a little distracted by guilt – you see in order to come today I had to leave my (exhausted) wife at home with our (still sick) baby child.

But there wouldn’t have been time to find someone to replace me and I know you are paying more than £10,000/$20,000 to learn at the LSE (plus a great deal more for living expenses in London) so I felt I had to do my best to attend – I can’t remember a lecture or seminar ever being cancelled because of ill-health when I was being taught (though I may have forgotten a time or two).

To be honest though this was an advanced workshop session on Internet methods – a subject I enjoy talking and thinking about, and I was being a little selfish – I actually really like teaching, and a workshop full of graduate students who are (on the basis of marks and financial commitment at least) some of the ‘best and the brightest’. So I was really looking forward to my workshop…

Until I noticed early on that your attention was elsewhere. To be more precise you were using the Internet access I (foolishly) arranged in case it would be needed for teaching in order to surf some kind of funny images site. Which was bad enough. But then you started to smirk and show them off to the woman beside you. Then would have been the time to call you out on it I suppose, but I didn’t really expect you to carry on in the same way for the entire one-hour session. But that doesn’t mean what you did was fine. Here are a couple of tips.

1) You don’t get marked for attendance at the LSE – you get marked for results. If you know in advance you don’t have any interest in the subject don’t turn up – I assure you you won’t be missed.
2) If you do want to surf recreationally, sitting under the speaker’s nose is the wrong place to do it.
3) Distracting another potential learner – even one you hope to impress – puts you pretty close to the bottom tier of my personal student hell.

If you do come across this weblog posting in your idle surfing consider this a warning – if you start anything like that again in next week’s workshop, I will waste a precious minute or two of teaching time giving you a piece of my mind. It may not cure my flu but it would certainly make me feel better about teaching for a little while…


  1. […] Open letter to the guy in the front row of the workshop I just taughtI’m so glad my university lecturers didn’t have weblogs, so they couldn’t do things like this…[Tags: blogging education workblog ] […]

    Pingback by Jon Rowett’s Workblog » Links for 22 February 2007 — 22 February 2007 @ 5:06 pm

  2. I can’t believe you didn’t open a large can of whupass on him anyway? Don’t let people get away with these things…

    Comment by Gav — 17 April 2007 @ 12:59 pm

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