by bn skinner
An ill student stands up to a mean professor
|The story I am about to tell you is based on an incident, better yet showdown, that really occurred. It was not a nightmare. I wish it was. |
I should start with four prefatory remarks.
First, no one wanted this to happen. But its occurrence spawned a school-wide interest in Alienus Belatrix.
Second, Alienus earned a reputation in my section as “that girl”. Whenever she opened her mouth in class, groans followed.
Third, Professor Riddle Bile had a notorious Kingsfieldesque teaching style. He ran his classroom with military precision. And among the rules he imposed in his classroom was a zero tolerance and use policy for technology.
Finally, the coronavirus pandemic recently started. We are already on edge.
With these introductory remarks in mind, let me begin.
Class began promptly at 8 a.m. Nothing unusual about that; Professor Bile always began on time.
Things went down hill forty-five minutes into class. Professor Bile was halfway through setting up a property conveyance on the white board, when he abruptly put the marker down and walked up the stairs to the very back of the lecture hall.
A deafening silence filled the room.
“You know the rule: no cell phones in class,” Professor Bile said. “Do you know the rules?”
“Yes, I know the rules,” Alienus responded.
“Well, I guess you don’t because you were just on your cell phone,” Professor Bile retorted.
“I wasn’t on my cell phone, Professor,” Alienus snapped back. “I know what I was doing, and I was not on my cell phone.”
“You are acting like a child. And children get put in timeout,” he said as he pointed to the nearest exit. “Step outside and come back in twenty minutes.”
Professor Bile walked down to the white board to resume his lesson. But Alienus did not think the conversation ended.
“I think I’ll pass,” she said.
Professor Bile stopped in his tracks. For a moment, it seemed like time paused. He turned to face Alienus. We never thought someone could talk to Professor Bile that way. And he appeared angry, his eyes glaring at Alienus.
“Now you must leave for today. You can come back Friday.”
“I don’t think I will,” Alienus said. “You will not treat us this way.” She must have thought we would all support her in this suicide mission.
Boy was she wrong. Everyone else in the room looked squarely down at their desks, not wishing to catch Professor Bile’s stare and get dragged into whatever was happening.
“You know the rules . . . no . . . cell . . . phones . . . in . . . class. Yet you were on your . . ."
“I wasn’t on my cell phone. I was waiting for a message from my mom.” Alienus interrupted Professor Bile to say.
“Let me ask everyone else. Class,” he said looking around. “Doesn’t the syllabus clearly say no cell phones in class?”
No one responded. We kept our heads down; still as stone gargoyles atop Notre Dame Cathedral.
“I’m not going to leave,” Alienus said. But she didn’t stop there. “You can continue teaching.”
“That is both rude and disrespectful,” Professor Bile said.
“No, you are rude and disrespectful to us,” Alienus screamed out.
Professor Bile’s patience had been stretched.
“You are kicked out of class for the rest of the semester,” he said. “You can go talk to Dean Snuffleupagus and tell her what happened.”
“No. I won’t,” she foolishly said. “You can actually keep teaching.”
Professor Bile realized the situation was not going to end on its own. He needed to get Alienus out.
“You and I are going to walk over right now together to Dean Snuffleupagus’s office.”
“Yeah. Let’s go.” Alienus quickly stood up, knocking her stuff off her desk.
As soon as the door shut, the class erupted in laughter and gasps. Many of us were still processing what just occurred.
Then, as quickly as they left, they returned. In perhaps one of history’s most awkward moments, Alienus and Professor Bile both walked back into the room.
“The dean’s office has not opened yet. We will go back after class,” Professor Bile said. “Let’s resume our lesson.”
“Yes, resume your lesson,” Alienus said as she found her seat and slammed her butt into it.