The contrast – a story about two professors

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I am attempting to catch the essence of what she is illustrating. The chart shows how Old English changed and developed into Middle English. How the words in late Old English period started loosing their inflections. A slight noise intrudes. What is it? I look out of the window, the sun shining, the colour of the trees seems to have changed a bit, a trace of green. It is quiet, even the birds are taking a break on this early spring day in April.
I turn my head back to the professor. She has a very gentle expression on her face. Her blue eyes remind me of the sea on a quiet cloudy day. On those days the water has a clear light-blue colour, the waves pushing back and forth slowly and gently, they are never in a hurry.
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The noise returns, considerably louder this time, an explosive sound. Now I recognise what it is, someone is snoring. It is from the other side of the classroom. She notices it too, the professor. She might have noticed it even before I did.
She turns her head to the student who fell asleep, with a slightly higher voice, she says: “could you please wake up?” Her face remains calm and soft, as if she is still talking about the loss of inflections in Middle English. Her passion. “Sorry”, his mind returns to the present moment. She smiles lightly and nods to him. Then she continues, again her mind seems to be occupied with the works by Chaucer and Shakespeare.
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My mind starts wandering, it brings me back to another setting. In an auditorium at a renowned business college. I was young and studing my first degree at that time. It has been many years now.
It was a dark winter evening. I hurried back to the college from my part-time job in a bakery. We did not normally have evening lectures so that was an exception. I was a couple of minutes late and hungry. Opening the back door of the auditorium quietly, I walked in and got myself a seat at the back row.
I put the notebook on the small auditorium table, and removed the cover of the yogurt carefully. It should be fine as we do sometimes bring food to lectures. Our schedule does not always give us sufficient time to have lunch. So I thought.
“Take your food and leave the auditorium.” The lecturer raised his voice. I sensed the irritation and realised that the words were addressed to me.
Some students stared at me, I rose and made my way to the back door. I did bring the yogurt with me and waited in the corridor. But the feeling of hunger was gone, so I threw it into the rubbish bin.
It was not quite what I expected, this evening. The heart felt heavy, it was overwhelmed by awkwardness.
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The lecture was over, I walked in from the front door of the auditorium. He was collecting the books, the lecturer. I looked at him and said quietly: “ I apologise for the disturbance, I should not have brought food to the lecture.” He looked at me, no acknowledgement was shown, no words. Then he picked up the books and walked out of the room. So there I stood, alone, surrounded by the emptiness and silence.
Thanks for reading, take care.
With love,
Isabelle ❤️
(Photos taken in Oslo and Tenerife 2016 – 2017)

Author: Isabelle

I am Isabelle and I live with my family in Oslo, Norway. I have three children, a girl and two boys. My educational background: Bachelor of International Marketing. Bachelor of English Language. I am currently doing my master's in English Language at University of Oslo. Interests: Language, literature, running, yoga and travelling

43 thoughts on “The contrast – a story about two professors”

    1. Thank you so much for taking time to read this post and leave me the comment. I was taught to respect teachers when I was very young and I have always kept it in mind. I apologised sincerely that evening many years ago, it just felt right when I decided to do it. But I must admit that I did expect the apology to be accepted. It’s all over now. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a bit unusual experience but I must say I’ve only experienced once in my life. Most lecturers/professors I’ve encountered are wonderful people, friendly and helpful, not to mention their academic achievements and teaching skills. Thank you for taking time to read the post and leave me a comment Axia. Appreciate a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sue. It was a unusual experience. I hope the professor could sense the sincerity in the apology at a later point. It’s an exceptional case, most professors I’ve encountered are wonderful and admirable people. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I didn’t meet him again after that or I might have but I can’t really remember. It’s been many years. He might be a guest lecturer.
      It’s not that I couldn’t leave it behind me. It was a unusual experience but it was long over. The episode came as a sudden reflection when I was having a seminar class last Thursday. To me it felt like a contrast -two completely different reactions and approaches.

      Thank you Neil and the same, have a good week with some decent weather.

      Isabelle

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a bit unexpected. I might be considered disrespectful as I was late and took the food to the auditorium. In that sense, I understood his reaction and apologised. The apology wasn’t quite accepted sadly. I don’t think I’ve ever brought food to any lectures after that. A lesson was learnt. Thank you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The contrast between the professors is striking. While I agree with the previous comments that his reaction to you bringing food and his disregard for your sincere apology was rude, I admire you for the grace you showed. After all, as you discussed in a previous post (“Behind the facade”) about your past department colleague, we never know what is happening in others’ lives. Perhaps he was having a bad day? Of course, less-than-ideal circumstances do not justify poor behavior, but they do help explain it.

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    1. I might be considered disrespectful in the first place though it was unintentional. I arrived late and I brought food to the lecture and caused distractions. The professor might have a good reason for reacting in the way he did. I am mostly impressed by the thoughtful approach of the professor of English language. Thank you for a nice chat!

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    1. It was a special experience. It’s been many years now. Just got a flashback when I was having the seminar last Thursday. Such a thoughtful way of dealing with the incident. Lovely to see you here Basilike! 😊

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  2. Hey Isabelle ☺
    Although everyone is blaming the professor here but he was just doing his job, both of them. Different people have different ways of handling the same situation, also a single person might handle the same situation differently based on mood and how their day is going. I loved reading your post and you did the right thing by apologizing but should have had the yogurt too ☺. Your professor would be having lots of hiccups today since so many people are thinking about him…lol
    It was a good read !!
    Much love 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh cherry, you made me laugh…I definitely should’ve grabbed that yogurt. I guess that’s why I eat so many yogurt now (p.s only those topped with muesli) Great you keep a balanced view. The idea of writing the post was rather impulsive, it came at the moment when I witnessed how the incident was handled by the professor of English language. To me it felt like a contrast, that a similar situation could be handled so differently. There was no criticism or judgement involved. As you mentioned, different people have different ways of handling the same situation. However, different approaches might have a different impact on recipients. This is my subtle humble reflection 😊 In any case, I caused the distractions in the first place and deserved the punishment 😁 Thank you for taking time to let me know your reflections cherry. Appreciate a lot. Much love in return 💖

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      1. Glad it made you chuckle ☺… that’s a great breakfast and snack option to catch on the go !! I understand that, impulsive and spontaneous are good for writing. English professors are normally cooler than others.It was a contrast for sure. I agree about the impact at reviewer’s end he should have accepted your apology and be kinder later at least. You weren’t much at fault, food comes first and discipline later, it’s difficult to focus on studies on an empty stomach go easy on yourself, he didn’t forgive you but you should forgive yourself, kids are more trouble maker than what you did in that situation. It’s always a pleasure to read your posts 💞

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    1. Haha wasn’t I a bit strange Keen? 😁 Sometimes I’m so determined for some unexplainable reasons.
      Yeah I did it that evening, it felt right to me though. I was taught to respect teachers at an early age (in China) and have kept that in mind since then. I caused distractions in the first place and I acknowledged that and apologised. I did my part but couldn’t control the outcome… Very nice to have a chat about that funny old thing Keen 😁 Thank you for taking time to read it and write to me. Appreciate it a lot! 🌸

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    2. Haha I was a bit strange, wasn’t I Keen? 😁 Sometimes I’m so determined for some unexplainable reasons.
      Yeah I did it that evening and it felt right to me though. I was taught to respect teachers at an early age (in China) and have kept it in mind since then.
      I caused distractions in the first place and I acknowledged that and apologised. I did my part but I couldn’t control the outcome…
      Nice to have a chat about this funny old thing 😁Thank you for taking time to read the post and write to me Keen! Very much appreciated! 🌸

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  3. Ugh. So unnecessary. I never understand those kind of people. I believe it when people say You don’t behave that way unless You’ve been wounded somehow or have very deep insecurities…but that doesn’t make being on the receiving end of such unkindness any easier. It was very dear of You to wait and apologize even though You hadn’t willingly or knowingly done anything to be rude. Sigh. Wish I could go back to that moment with You, give You a big hug, and buy You another yogurt!!! 😊 The pictures are lovely….as was the first professor! Hugest hugs and Cheers!!! 💖😊☀️

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    1. Thank you for the kind and thoughtful words Katy! I’d love that you were there with me. I’m sure it would be much more fun. We could make jokes of the situation and laugh together. I’d love to have another yogurt, preferably with strawberry flavour, or a salad would be even better 😁 Have a good day Katy! Talk soon! 😊💖🌸

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah…🤗…perhaps the yogurt was contaminated somehow and he, unwittingly, saved Your life! Or as my man would say when he’s joking around, “You could have been kilt!!!” Or maybe he was actually a superhero who was SO shy about taking credit for his good deeds that he acted really mean in order to manipulate people and that he KNEW the yogurt was bad, but didn’t want to frighten You and had a feeling that if he just shamed You horribly You would lose Your appetite!!! Yeahhhhh….that’s it. 🤣 Strawberry it is, and I make a wonderful salad!!! 😊 Thanks for the smile Isabelle! I hope You have a good day as well!!! 💖☀️🐬

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  4. How rude the second (earlier) professor was!!! I wouldn’t be disturbed by food – but if I were the teacher (talking about my passion), I would be slightly hurt if someone fell asleep! Or kept staring at their phones. At my previous job, my colleague did that all the time: concentrated entirely on his phone during meetings. It felt disrespectful.
    Ps. I was wondering about the photos – Oslo and Tenerife sound right 🙂
    Great post, Isabelle!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry about the late reply. Still in Shanghai. I agree with you, falling asleep or checking the phone during a lecture is rather disrespectful. Impressed by the way the incident was handled by the professor. She took it smoothly. Thank you so much! I’m glad you found the post interesting. 😊🌸

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  5. Hi Isabelle, I hope your travels to China have been splendid. This is beautiful if sad writing. What an uncomfortable moment that must have been for you. It mirrors some of my own thoughts as of late. Two moments can share something deeply. Yet, one person and the way they choose to react can make all the difference. And the way that you can experience something and it summons a memory or a feeling from another time and place. I’m touched by the gentleness of the recent professor. I wonder if the other professor has a sadness in himself that would have him react to you in such a way. Whatever was in his heart, I understand how the heaviness and awkwardness would stay with you, Isabelle. You are such a gentle person. How lovely the way the Old English professor showed compassion and that hereis another way. Thank you for sharing. Take care, suzanne ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Suzanne, your words touched my heart deeply. You said my writing was soulful, isn’t your writing just the same. The deepest emotions and feelings are wrapped up carefully and gently in your poetry and texts. The same applies to your thoughtful comment. You captured the essence of this post, you knew the intention behind it. It wasn’t the criticism I had in mind when I was writing the post, it was the gentleness the professor of language showed us. It felt so natural, as if she took it for granted that this was the only way to react in such a situation.
      I returned home earlier this week, it was a lovely 7 day trip. I visited a coastal town in southern China for the first time. It made great impression. I hope you’re well and happy. I often think of you, strange isn’t it. Take care Suzanne, you’re such a great person with a very kind heart ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Isabelle… I’m happy you had such a nice trip. I often think of you as well and send warm wishes into your day wherever you might be. It is strange, in a nice kind of way 😌. Thank you dearly Isabelle ❤️🌷

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s coming Andrew. Thanks for your concern. I’ve been away for a week, the motivation for blogging wasn’t high. Too much impression to absorb. All is fine here. Hope all is well with you too. Your latest poem is lovely. Give me some time, the comment is on the way. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have been there. I do understand why you lost your appetite despite starving from working so hard. You had been a hard-working, rules abiding student, who wouldn’t have brought in the food normally even if it was alright to do so but that day it was sort of an emergency to recharge yourself but the teacher was so full of himself that he didn’t even have the decency to accept your apology.
    Teachers have been important part in my life, their teachings rich with life experience have helped shaped my current personality as such many of them are dear to my heart and will remain so. But there were some who were probably were lacking as a person themselves and didn’t have the kindness to the handle the authority that comes with their position which a teacher normally develops towards their students out of love.
    The second professor was that kind and I detest this type because even I had a teacher who had humiliated me in front of the entire class bringing me to tears when I was in elementary school simply because the poem I recited was a small one. I was a new student, not accustomed to the practices of the place. It affected me to an extent that a part of me is still appalled by public speaking. So yeah, I have a particular dislike for teachers who can’t handle their position!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a very special experience, which made huge impression at that time. After all these years, I thought that episode had long been forgotten. It came back as a reflection on that Thursday. It shows how something of similar character can be handled so differently.
      Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts with me. It reminds me of the importance of treating people with kindness and respect. Always. Thank you ❤️

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