Now I Know What My Students Must Feel Like

I’ve always said one of my greatest strengths as a teacher is the ability to take a room full of young, energetic students and within minutes have a few of them on the edge of REM sleep.

I get it. For some people, accounting is not the most interesting topic to sit and listen to. Really, does anyone get excited about things like debits, credits, allowance for doubtful accounts, or accumulated depreciation? (OK, readers, wake up).

I mean, I do. But that’s to be expected.

So imagine my surprise the other day (and it was quite a surprise).

I had just made myself a nice cup of herbal tea and turned on CNBC to watch the wrap of the day’s trading. The reporters were throwing around terms like EPS and profit margin and cash flow, stuff right up my alley.

Moments later, I woke up with a burning sensation on my belly and my lap.

Apparently I had fallen asleep while holding the cup of tea in my hands, and it spilled all over me. Fortunately, it had been a few minutes since it had been boiled so it wasn’t THAT hot, but it was still plenty warm.

Needless to say, it quickly woke me up. My son, who was sitting across from me, got a good laugh out of it when I stood up, since it looked like I had “an accident”.

I quickly dried up the spill as best as I could and went upstairs to change my clothes.

But I returned a more humble man.

I had just experienced what it must be like for my students listening to my lectures.

Now I know to give them a warning if they are listening to one of my classes from the comfort of a a couch or a bed:

“Please keep your large cup of caffeine on a nearby table and not your lap.”

I don’t want to hear a scream and see someone running off camera in the middle of a Zoom lecture…

*image from The Acronym

61 thoughts on “Now I Know What My Students Must Feel Like

  1. We all need to be humbled from time to time. At the end of my career, we used to have two winter programs. The main reason for two was the overflowing crowd (I’m not joking). The first performance held on Thursday was for each of the classes to perform for the other kids in school. It can take a long time between getting all of the kids up and down and in place. We used to have to contend with the parents who would understandably want to get photos but then blocked other children in the audience who then couldn’t see.

    The remedy was to invite the parents on Friday at a specific time. That way, the parents wouldn’t have to sit through all of the classes to see their child’s performance. When it was time for a class to perform, someone would come to the class, and the teacher would lead them out. Since they were the only class in the auditorium, it made for excellent parent photo opportunities. One year right before going out for our turn, I was curiously doing a craft project with my class. The plastic bottle I held in my hand shattered two minutes before we were to go out, and my shirt and dress pants were covered in dark brown paint. The show must go on, and I took my humiliation like a man.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I usually have the opposite effect on kids – I’m good at getting them all wound up, and then when they reach their peak, it’s time for me to leave… 🙂


  2. We weren’t allowed to take hot drinks into any class when I did my MBA. Now I know why: it was a deliberate tactic to protect the accounting tutor from lawsuits 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Too funny, Jim! I’ll bet Patio got quite the laugh from your episode. Drinking it or wearing it, either way a good hot drink will help keep you awake! Maybe your lectures should have a warning label, “Do not operate heavy machinery until you are sure how this lecture may affect you”. A great an entertaining post, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The hot drink certainly did wake me up, just not the way I expected! Perhaps along with the warning label, I should try and provide discounts on 5-hour energy drinks… Enjoy the holiday weekend, Brad!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. well, now you’ve caused some collateral damage with your witty post. when i was reading this, i spit my coffee out, causing me to have to change my shirt – your curse continues )

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I minored in Accounting but graphics turned out to be my true passion. Comes in handy though. Not sure I could stay awake in a class now no matter what the subject. I’m sure your son had a good laugh. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you found your passion! It does come in handy when you realize everything you want costs more money than you have. And I just hope I never fall asleep while teaching accounting 🙂
      And my son did have a good laugh…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Omg that’s hilarious! I took accounting for two years and I’m glad I never had any hot coffee or tea nearby because that sounds like something that would definitely happen to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I studied Accounting for three years. After that I was struck a road side accident and changed to Computer Sciences. Now I have Masters degree in Computer Science and during this tenure I don’t think I used to eat or drink in my class. thanks

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear, Jim Borden

        I want to publish this article in urdu language with your name… May I translate and republish???

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I ask teachers this all the time: what was your favorite era to teach and what is was your least favorite?

    Reason I ask now, I have a feeling a new era of teaching is about to begin with social distance rules.

    For the record my step mom and dad are teachers so I’ve gotten a variety of answers on this, and I think there may be a bit of a generational element to it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I would have really enjoyed teaching. My step mom has said the late 70s and early 80s were rough, but she enjoyed most everything until the cell phone era.

        My dad is amazed how much college has changed since he went in the 70s.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I went to college in the 70s as well, and to me the biggest change is that students today are much more focused, and they seem so much more mature than I was at that age!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ve read that about generation z. I’ve only met a handful, but I can see that they seem more mature than I was around 2000. I think they also understand budgeting and debt better than people my age did at their age, which is probably why I’ve met so few while working in a casino.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think there are some other things as well that go into it. Most 21 year olds want to go to the club instead of play at a table, many don’t have the disposal income to float $15 or more per hand, and it can be intimidating to walk up to a table the first time if you don’t fully understand the game. I do believe it’s the results of them growing up during the housing bubble and seeing millennials get into student loan debts and just being able to navigate self directed internet learning as a whole much better. I’m pretty hopeful for that generation as a whole.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I think you hit on the key reasons why that age group may not be so keen to gamble, although I think there are always a handful that think they are going to be the next World Series of Poker champion…

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more options traders out of gen z. I was reading the other day how Robinhood is doing well with a younger demographic.

        Not having World Series of Poker was one of many big blows to the city this year. It was always a big money maker for us. Ironically last year I missed the opening week because I went to San Diego to do a weekend work shop on options trading.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Poor kid killed himself because he thought he owed $700,000 which he didn’t, the trade hadn’t completely cleared the account.

        I’d say I’m a mild risk taker, working in table games was something I fell into by luck. Any gambling or investing I do is pretty conservative.

        I like how investing adds up over time. I look at it as if I invest $500 and lose half of it, I still have $250 when it’s time to cash out but if I take the $500 and put it in the bank I will likely spend it on one thing or another.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. The majority of mine is long run. I break it down into 6 segments

        1 ibonds
        2 long ETFs
        3 monthly dividend
        4 stocks I intend on holding for the long haul
        5 stocks I like the company but may not look good on paper
        6 straight up gambles on stocks and credit spreads

        5 and 6 are my risky ones. But sometimes a 5 can jump to 4 and sometimes a 4 can end up in a hole it can’t climb out of at which time I either sell it and take the loss or if I really believe in it aquire more at the lower price and hopefully that part goes up enough to eventually get out of at even.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. tried to leave this comment on your post, but it was blocked:

      your post brought back great memories of college as well (over 40 years ago for me!). My favorite class was a course in Logic taught by the Philosophy Department. I just loved the way it taught me how to think and the importance of using words in the right way…

      Glad the phys ed course stuck with you – I am a big fan of fitness as well…


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