April 25, 2012 by jooshanoosh

I was talking to a student today, a student I really like and enjoy talking to, who told me about a recent conversation he’d had among other students in our department. While they liked me as a professor generally, they also felt that I was “too friendly” and “played favorites.” Hmmm. May I use my online avenue of expression and respond? Yes, yes I can. I just gave myself permission.

1. Dear students, I am sorry that I am too friendly. In the future I will give you all the stink eye, the way many of you do to me when I say hello in the hallway. I will pretend to be on my cell phone more often to avoid conversations with you. I’m pretty sure I can fix this problem, and in the future you can look forward to me being a really big bastard.
2. About this “playing favorites.” I am neither shocked nor appalled. Why? BECAUSE I DO. I PLAY FAVORITES. I have no qualms in admitting this. If Target made t-shirts emblazoned with the words “I play favorites” and surrounded with silk screened pictures of all my favorite students, I would buy one at full price. I would wear it to graduation.
The great news is that I have a capacity for many favorites! There is hope! I can have 150 favorites! So I thought maybe to help this conundrum that some of you find yourselves in, I would offer a little advice. May I? Yes, yes I may.
1. Come to class. It’s not hard. You signed up for it. So go. I will love you more every time I see your face. If you can’t come to class, tell me. Email or call me before the class. Don’t come to class the next time and tell me you are sorry you missed, but that your pony died or your grandma had a baby. And don’t miss two weeks and then come tell me you were in the hospital. Unless you are having major surgery, I probably won’t believe you. Very people go to the hospital with the flu, and if they do they don’t stay two weeks. So I ain’t buying your little bill of goods. When I see you in class, on time, I think to myself, “Self, I think this student is one of my favorites.”

2. Do your work. Whatever it is, do it. Most of the classes I teach are acting classes, so it’s a safe bet I’ll be expecting you to act. Which means you should have rehearsed. Which means you should know your lines. If you don’t, I’ll still be very friendly (limited time only) but you will get a bad grade, and you will not be one of my favorites. I tend to cast people in shows who know how to be good students, because I like them the best.
3. Quit whining all the time. Quit telling me how hard your life is. I promise you, it’s not that hard. I promise you. I like people who smile a lot and deal with their problems and tell funny jokes. Is that you? Then you’re totally in!

4. I like people who are talented. But I especially like people who are talented and work hard. I don’t care for people who are talented and lazy. I tend not to reward that. If you are not talented but still work hard, you will probably be one of my favorites regardless. Because I like those people, too. And I know a lot of people who have built reputable careers out of a lot of work and a little talent. It can be done!
5. Wear awesome outfits and bring me treats (this one is optional. Like extra credit.)
Hope these help!
Love, Professor Clark
I mean
With passive disdain, Professor Clark

8 thoughts on “favorites

  1. Josh Bingham says:

    Chris – you have no idea how much I love this. I want everyone who has ever worked for me and who ever will work for me to read this. Why is it so hard for people to grasp the idea that working hard and being nice get you a long way in the world?My favorites are also based on who brings me diet cokes.

  2. Hailey says:

    5a. Wear awesome outfits that Chris can delight to no end in making fun of. I recommend giant green rain boots, or any sassy boots, really.

  3. Jared Jones says:

    With passive disdain is probably the best closing line of any letter ever. Perhaps a T-shirt that says "You Too Can Be A Favorite." I am also reminded of my father-in-law. My wife is the only girl in her family. It was made clear to me that I can be the only son-in-law and still not be the "favorite." Thankfully, they love me.

  4. Emmie says:

    This is one of the most awesome things I have ever read. The next time one of my students starts giving me excuses for not having their scene memorized, I'm going to hand them a copy of this and say, "You are not my favorite."

  5. With passive disdain = Awesome.

  6. This secretly applies to friends too, doesn't it?

  7. Patrick says:

    This is a really good post, and what you readers don't know is that choosing the picture to go with your post is super hard. Chris, you nailed it!

  8. bionictrout says:

    You should keep a running list on this blog of your favorite students (and friends).

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