Aug 022005
Authors: KATE DZINTARS Associate Managing Editor

I have a confession to make.

I love school.

I sit in the front row.

I color code my notes.

I even laugh at teachers' jokes.

On Monday, my utopian perception of the college classroom – in which dialogue and discussion are encouraged and embraced by everyone – was shattered.

My instructor had a couple of terms mixed up on the board. I pointed out the discrepancy. Then a voice from the back of the classroom said "Nobody asked you." The whole class started laughing.

I don't know if this person was just jealous that my knowledge of normal bell curves surpassed his, if he just wanted attention or if he was just trying to insult me, but he definitely ruined my ideal classroom setting.

Luckily, I don't get embarassed easily. I have tripped down the steps in Clark A101 and laughed. I fall off the wheelie chairs at work – a lot – and still manage to keep my head up. But not everyone is so teflon-tough that everything just rolls off their back.

When someone is publically ridiculed, it discourages everyone who witnessed it.

Now no one in my class will try to say anything, scared that some smart-ass will embarrass them.

College classes should be welcoming. No student should be scared to ask a question or pipe up when they know the answer to one.

When lecturing, not every question a professor asks is rhetorical. I sympathize with teachers when they ask a question and the only answer they get is 40 blank-faced stares from students who obviously wish they were somewhere else.

Maybe I am a know-it-all and I talk too much in class. But, at the same time, someone has got to do it. Imagine if no one but the professor talked in every class. How boring!

Whether it is a heated ethical discussion or just question and answer session, everyone should be involved.

If a college classroom is not a safe place to share ideas and expand your mind, what is?

Kate Dzintars is a junior technical journalism major. She is an associate managing editor at the Collegian.

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