Best moment of the academic year

by Harry on August 19, 2019

I invite other teachers or students to submit their own best moment of the academic year past. Mine was this.

A small class — just 17 students. They had read Amia Srinivasan’s “Does anyone have the right to sex?”. Some of them hated it, because they thought (wrongly) that it expressed sympathy with incels. Others were more intrigued. During the discussion I made reference, as she does, to political lesbians, and as I was saying the word it occurred to me that they might not know what it meant. So I asked them what it meant. The blank faces indicated that none of them had looked it up, which I pointed out (I knew they’d all read the piece). So I asked them to guess, and several made wild guesses. The one who got closest was very uneasy in saying it, I think because he worried that he was being politically incorrect. I finally told them what it meant. Several of them looked concerned, wondering what they ought to think about this. A few knew that I am perfectly capable of making things up to bamboozle them. After an interminable 2 seconds of silence, though, one young woman hit the table, and cried, very loudly: “That’s AWESOME! Good for THEM!”. Her face had that look that a baby’s face gets when it has its first taste of chocolate.