Epic teaching stuff-ups
This week I made the most massive error I have made to date as a teacher. I run a large first year class called Drugs Across Cultures with about 400 students in it. On Monday we had the mid-semester multiple choice exam scheduled that’s worth 20% of their grade. The students had all come in, sat down, and I had given the last instructions for how to hand in the quiz when they were done. Then I handed out the quiz. I’d passed out about 100 of the question sheets when someone raised her hand and said, “Umm, why are some of the questions highlighted in bold?”
Yes, that’s right, I printed out 400 question sheets with the correct answers in bold.
I had to cancel the whole quiz, write another one, and have them all take it again (online this time).
I was reflecting on my colossal stupidity with a colleague who told me this great story about another teaching stuff-up. A man he knew was teaching a large undergraduate class on biological anthropology. The mother of one of his students was a primatologist and had sent him a film of someone’s field research on gorillas. He decided to use it in class but hadn’t reviewed it before-hand — it was completely unscreened. So he went to class and put on the film. It started with two male gorillas approaching each other, and everyone expected to see a battle for dominance. But instead, one of the gorillas lied down and the other started performing fellatio on it. According to my colleague, the gorilla ejaculated spectacularly all over the other gorilla’s face.
Now that’s another good story about giving students a bit more than they are expecting! I just did a google search for “gorilla film homosexual fellatio” and got to this result, a 2005 Guardian UK article asking “can animals be homosexual?” which says, “There’s a video some researchers made of male bachelor gorillas engaging in fellatio, but it still hasn’t been shown in the US.” Oh yes it has!
Anyone else have any good stories of epic blunders they’ve made in their teaching? Or of mistakes that your teachers have made?