You’re in the final moments of your last Friday class, waiting for the minute hand to hit 50 so you can begin/continue drinking for the day and your weekend can officially begin. It’s then that your teacher finishes up class with a question that seems like an afterthought, “Does anyone have any questions before I let you go?” The answer, to anyone who is unclear, should be a quick shaking of the head as you begin to pack up your bag. To anyone who doesn’t see this question as a cursory afterthought, you are the bane of my existence.
After all, how hard would it be for you to ask your question after class is officially dismissed so that I can crawl back to my couch and watch some bad daytime TV? Not that hard, I promise you. The thought won’t burn a hole in your brain if you hold it there for one minute longer. Some of us have to trek to the other end of the earth (aka DRL) when class ends and need to get walking, and the rest of us have better things to do than staying late to listen to a question and answer that only you really need.
We’ve all heard the saying that there are no stupid questions, only stupid people. At Penn, however, I’d say the reverse is true; there are a whole lot of really smart people asking a whole lot of really dumb questions so that their lecturers will acknowledge their existence and TAs will think they’re involved. We suffer enough listening to Professor Spits–when–he–talks and Dr. Monotone class after class, so when time is up, the last thing we want to hear is another 20 minutes of you asking questions about the extra reading you took it upon yourself to do.
Really, do you not hear the people next to you shuffling their notebooks, snapping their laptops shut and zipping up their bags? Can you not feel the daggers their eyes are staring at you? You just sat in class for almost an hour without saying a word, yet the minute we’re supposed to leave you become Hermione fucking Granger? I don’t think so. Put your hand down or we will have to forcefully remove it.
The one good thing about people who ask these questions is that they somehow bond the rest of the class together. Every time someone raises his or her hand in the last 30 seconds of class, we all suppress a groan and scan the room with our eyes, eventually making meaningful eye contact with some stranger who shares our annoyance and frustration. I know that at Penn we encourage thoughtful questions and evocative discourse, but if class is just about over, think twice. Your question is probably more painful than meaningful… just let me go!