Famous Quotes

“I’m concerned that adding ‘artificial intelligence’ to smartphones will add ‘artificial intelligence’ to smart students.” –Professor Phil Jones

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How to handle the ‘dominating’ student.

They think it’s ok to not raise their hand when they have a question, and instead, blurt out their own opinions, experiences, and ‘wisdom’; they ask too many questions, not allowing for others in the class to do the same; they interrupt the flow of the lecture. Basically, ‘they’ rule the class…your class! Who are these students? What’s a professor to do? What’s are students supposed to do? This has been a question I get asked all the time, and with another recent inquiry via the blog, I thought now is a good time to post something about it.

As a professor, it is your responsibility to the other students in your class to stop this in the early stages. Each student in the class is paying to learn primarily from your experience and knowledge. I say, ‘primarily’, because some students do have backgrounds and experiences that can enhance what you’re talking about; enhance, not dominate.

Here’s what I do that has worked for me in the past:

Hand out an ‘Anonymous index card’ at week 2, the middle of the semester, and near the end of the semester. The card has 3 simple questions on it: What am I doing in class that is working? What am I doing in class that is not working? Do you have any suggestion(s)?

When you hand out the card to everyone, even the student that is dominating the class knows that everyone is having input on how the class is managed and they’re not the only person who’s concerns you care about. If you end up needing to talk to this student about their classroom behaviour, they will know it’s not just a concern with you, but with others in the class.

On the card, you’ll most likely see a comment like, ‘You’re letting (name) dominate the class with their own questions and comments, so it would be appreciated if you could elaborate on his/her comments outside of class because it’s interfering with MY learning in class. Thank you!’

 Once you know this is a concern with a student, or multiple students, you can then address it.

Trust me, you will know in the first or second class that you have this kind of student (I’ll just use my own name, ‘Phil’) in your class. When you see the pattern start, acknowledge their experience and insight in a positive way in class (that’s what they want), “Thanks, great comment”, “Thanks for sharing” and then asking the others in the class what they think, “Anne, what about you?” and go around the room. This way ‘Phil’ will see you want opinions from everyone, not just him. Another tip is to say to Phil “you’ve got a lot of great ideas and questions, so why don’t we talk during my office hours, then we don’t end up having our own conversation in class and ignore everyone else, plus I have to make sure I get through all this material. See me at the end of class ok and we’ll set it up?” The best way is to avoid it getting to this stage, so the index card helps, especially when you do it throughout the course.

Lastly, you shouldn’t put the onus on the student to deal with this situation. Some don’t want to cause problems and some simply don’t trust that their name as the complainant won’t be exposed to that person, because, if it is, it will become a bigger problem for you. It’s your class, so manage it.




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Top 10 (or so) things I learned on the picket line.

-You find yourself reminiscing about your teenage years because that’s the last time when you were making minimum wage.

-Walking the picket line is great material for your future best-seller: ‘How to lose 5 lbs. a week walking a picket line’.

-Most of the people who drive by honking their horns and giving you ‘the finger’ are driving way over the speed limit.

-You now have a captive audience to show off your new ‘Fitbit’ and bore them with how many steps you’ve taken…every half hour.

-That faculty member, who you have embarrassingly walked past every day in the hall for the last 10 years, actually has a name.

-Every time you exit the portable toilet, a car is driving by with the driver looking at you thinking, ‘Eww, gross…that person just used a portable toilet.’

-Nothing bonds faculty together like sharing a portable toilet and a box of stale donuts.

-Nobody walking the picket line gives a sh*t anymore about their fashion-sense.

-Holding a sign for 4 hours is a good forearm workout.

-The picket line is probably not the best place to ask someone out on a date.

-You look forward to getting back and teaching your students!

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Famous Quotes

“Learn how the brain works and you’ll learn how to teach.”

–Professor Phil Jones

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Interesting thought about Pirates.

I was just thinking…when Pirates were in college back in 1650, were they told to raise their hook if they wanted to ask a question?–Professor Phil Jones

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Professor appreciation

Compliment from a student in the year 1991: “I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot; thanks sir!”

Compliment from a student in the year 2017: “You’re the sh*t sir!”

–Professor Phil Jones

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Top 10 (or so) signs the semester is coming to an end.

  • The thought of handing in your final grades of the semester excites you more than the thought of having sex.
  • You now know the names of 3 students.
  • You keep talking about your plans for summer vacation…during your lecture.
  • You start getting emails from the student(s) who haven’t done anything all semester asking, “is there a make-up assignment I can do?”.
  • The college shredding service’s phone number is on your speed dial.
  • Late assignments are scattered on your office floor from the students who slid them under the door crack at 11pm the night before.
  • You’re spending all of your office time hours deleting your inbox.
  • The number one question your students ask you is “What’s on the exam?”
  • Your class attendance has suddenly increased by 50%.
  • Your voice mail is full of messages from parents asking, “Is he/she going to pass…can you call back ASAP to discuss?!”
  • You start to realize that you have a ‘spring in your step’ as you walk down the hall.

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10 (or so) cool reasons why professors should apply to work at a college on Mars.

-It would sound a lot better to say that you teach at a college located on Mars, rather than located on Uranus.

-You could have ‘Elon Musk’ in as a guest speaker; I mean, what else is he going to do with his spare time while living on Mars?

-You can commute to work on a Mars Rover.

-You would have extra-terrestrial students in your classes that would hand in amazing ‘out of this world’ projects.

-You could take a lot of time off with pay because of the dust storms.

-You now can wear that stupid looking mortar board hat for something useful: to protect your head from a flying asteroid.

-You will have smaller class sizes due to the limited space available on the spacecrafts arriving to the planet.

-You would be known as an ‘Interstellar Professor’.

-You can eat all the pizza in the cafeteria that you want; if you’re 200lbs on earth, you would only be 76lbs. on Mars!

-Due to less surface gravity on Mars than on Earth, you can literally hop around campus.

-Since a day on Mars is about 40 minutes longer than on earth, you can take longer breaks during class.

-You could change your name to ‘Professor Saturn’; it would have a nice ring to it.


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Top 10 (or so) ways to amuse yourself during the upcoming department meetings.

PB screen mishap

  • Open up your ‘Pokemon Go’ app and capture all of the Pokemon lurking in the room. Don’t be rude though, and excuse yourself as you walk in front of the screen.
  • Open up one of your many ‘Fart’ apps and bask in flatulent bliss as you scroll and launch an odourless assault of distasteful audio. Make sure to point to the person next to you if someone turns around to look.
  • Point your laser pointer in a haphazardly way on the presenters slides while he/she is talking and facing the audience. They will be totally oblivious to your shenanigans.
  • Before the meeting, sneak into the room and replace all the whiteboard markers with permanent markers. Wait for the expression of sheer panic on the presenter’s face when they realize what they just wrote isn’t coming off…hilarious.
  • Order a pizza at the beginning of the meeting to force a break when the meeting goes on too long. When it arrives, call out “Who ordered room service?” Make sure you tell the pizza place to bill the department when you place the order of extra large, fully dressed pizzas in quantities that could feed an army.
  • Totally derail the meeting by asking an unrelated question, “So who will win the U.S. election, Clinton or Trump?”
  • Look around the room and create your own Pokemon names for each faculty member in attendance. If you have time, draw them.
  • Take a glass and spoon to the meeting. Keep them out of sight and every time the presenter says “Um”, clink on the glass with the spoon.
  • Clap every time the presenter answers a question from the audience.
  • Every time a slide changes on the screen, kick the chair leg of the person sitting in front of you.
  • Take in a brand new box of multiple-coloured white board markers. Pull off the lids of each marker, then try to guess the colour of each marker by closing your eyes and sniffing them.
  • Make an funny looking origami of the person sitting beside you. Slowly push it in front of them while a serious subject is being discussed and then wait for their loud outburst of laughter. Watch them have to apologize to the group…once again, hilarious.
  • Perform 5 sets of calf raises by lifting your table with your knees.
  • Open up your palm to look at your life line to see if you are going to survive until the end of the meeting.

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Set ‘S-M-A-R-T-E-R’ goals

When I was in college, we learned about setting goals and were taught the acronym ‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based). In fact, even today, we still teach that concept. Well, I’m creating a new acronym that should be used instead that I am now teaching my students: ‘SMARTER‘ (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Based, Economical, and Rewarding). Since goals are directly linked to your habits and, more often than not, requires changing your current habits in order to achieve your goal, you need to add ‘economical’ and ‘rewarding’ to the current mix.









–Professor Phil Jones


Your goal must be ‘economical’ (meaning, are you willing to pay the price in order to achieve it?)  Setting a goal means that you WILL be sacrificing something in order to achieve it. Spending less time with family and friends? Spending money for products, services or memberships necessary to achieve the goal? Time commitment? Not doing other leisure activities?

Your daily habits dictate how you spend your time from the moment you wake up in the morning until the time you go to sleep at the end of your day.  If you have set a goal, then you will most likely need to alter those daily habits in order to achieve your goal. According to the research done by MIT’s neuroscience guru, Ann Graybiel, if you want to successfully change those habits, there MUST be a reward at the end. Giving yourself a reward once you have achieved the goal is a huge motivator and must be part of the equation; it will keep your eye on the prize at the end of the journey (a book that I highly recommend that expands on Graybiel’s research is ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg).

If more people thought about the sacrifices they will be making before they start their goal and also think about the reward they’ll get once completed, it will result in more people achieving their goals. Bottom line, if you aren’t willing to ‘pay the price’ and give yourself a reward at the end, you won’t achieve any of the goals you set. Don’t just be smart when setting your goals, be smarter!

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