A Class Act

2015-11-04: You can REALLY tell that I hadn’t yet become a parent.

Just a little anecdote to share about an incident yesterday that gave me the warm fuzzies.

I’m taking summer school at Sac State.  They break up the summer months into two six-week sessions, meaning that they have an abbreviated amount of time in which to cram a whole semester’s worth of information.  You don’t want to miss class for even one day, or else you risk falling hopelessly behind.

Anyway, yesterday was Week 1, Day 3 of Financial Management.  This twenty-something girl walked into the classroom about 15 minutes after the professor had started lecturing, and he immediately pounced.

Prof: Are you enrolled in this class?
Girl: (meekly) Yes.  This is my first day of class.
Prof: (utter disbelief on his face) Excuse me?
Girl: This is my first day of class.  I couldn’t make it before because my daughter was graduating from kindergarten.
Prof: (pauses)

It was at this point where my inner Engineer kicked in, and I sat there in schadenfreudic anticipation, waiting for him to rip her head off…

Prof: Good for you.  Congratulations.  You’re darn right you couldn’t make it. (smiles)

And with that, the girl took her seat, and the lecture continued.

I was blindsided by his kindness, understanding, and lack of cynicism.  I’m quite sure that if this had been Linear Systems Analysis, or Analog Circuits, or any other of a number of Engineering classes I’d had at Cal Poly, the professor would have eviscerated her on the spot for missing the first two days of class and then having the nerve to walk in tardy on the third day.  It’s not that I think that Engineering professors are bad people, it’s just that sometimes I think that they lack a little in the empathy department.

Now, of course I’m making gross generalizations here.  Not all Engineering professors are dicks, and I’m sure some Business professors are.  It varies on a case-by-case basis.

I think what really got to me was my anticipation of a very negative reaction.  I’m quite disappointed in myself for feeling that way, so I owe a debt of gratitude to the good professor for setting me straight, and showing the whole class that a little kindness can really make someone’s day.

By the way, the good professor’s name is Ralph Pope.  If you ever have the chance to take a Business class at Sac State and his name is on the list, do it.  He’s a little unorthodox, but it’s safe to say that he’s one of the professors who actually cares about his students.