William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Tuesday, 22, July, 2008

There Are No Dumb Questions? In Which I Unleash The Great White Snark

Filed under: Forensics,Medicine,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 11:36

So there I was, in class, talking about bariatric surgery.  I was mentioning the risks of those surgeries.  In 1-2 percent of the time, one can die from them.  The GI tract, when you mess with it, has a certain number of limited responses.  It can bleed, it can scar, it can get blocked with scar, and it can burst open.  That’s just what it does.

A student sticks up a hand “Are you a pathologist then?”

I really, REALLY wanted to say “No, I’m an accountant.  I just wander around cutting up dead people as a hobby.”  I knew if I said that I’d get dinged on my student course evaluations for being unhelpful.


  1. Maybe he was in the wrong room and he is looking for the basket weaving class.

    Comment by Rogue Medic — Tuesday, 22, July, 2008 @ 12:21 | Reply

  2. I’m trying to decide if that question is more annoying than “Will this be on the exam?” or not.

    One quarter I asked the students, on the final, to write down their instructor’s last name. Out of 120, about 30 got it right.

    Comment by Angry Professor — Tuesday, 22, July, 2008 @ 12:54 | Reply

  3. Anytime they ask me if it “is on the exam”, I reply, “it is now”.

    My husband had the duodenal switch gastric by-pass in March of 2007. He has lost 170 pounds. His diabetes is gone, high blood pressure gone. I am thrilled he isn’t gone. It was the decision of last resort. I didn’t want to be an attractive young widow because frankly life is better with him than without him. The surgery was dramatic but his untimely death in the near future would have been much worse. He looks better now than when I married him 20 years ago. Spending the next 40 years with him was pretty important to both of us.

    My favorite student question is, “How do you know that?” I can’t decide what I enjoy more–the misogyny, the anti-intellectualism, the anti-literacy, or just the whole underlying, “you are obviously making this up,” thing.

    Comment by Jaye — Tuesday, 22, July, 2008 @ 13:49 | Reply

  4. Here’s your sign!

    I would have said it.

    But those damn evaluations.

    Comment by Brigid — Tuesday, 22, July, 2008 @ 19:58 | Reply

  5. Ah… er… I REALLY don’t know what to say on that one… Probably why I don’t teach, I’m afraid I would hmmm, shall we say, er.. less than politically correct 🙂

    Comment by Old NFO — Tuesday, 22, July, 2008 @ 21:46 | Reply

  6. “No, I’m an accountant. I just wander around cutting up dead people as a hobby.” Love it! You should have said it…..there are too many dumb asses out there and I hold all of us responsible for eradicating them! Or at least humiliating them in public!

    Comment by TeamKlemm — Wednesday, 23, July, 2008 @ 08:44 | Reply

  7. Wow! You are an accountant too? Did you have to go to school for that?

    (sorry, couldn’t help myself)

    Comment by LisaK — Wednesday, 23, July, 2008 @ 11:14 | Reply

  8. Did you stop the lecture, turn to face the student, and just give them the withering Look of “Thou Art Dumbass?”

    Comment by crankyprof — Wednesday, 23, July, 2008 @ 12:24 | Reply

  9. Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

    I too love the “Will this be one the test?” question.
    A common response is to ask for their notes, and then tell them
    they have the correct answers noted for most of the upcoming test.
    Then I clam up and tell them no more……

    I’m not evil… really.

    If only we could say what we wish…. I feel the ability to restrain
    oneself in such situations is a prime part of being a professional instructor.

    Comment by Carteach0 — Wednesday, 23, July, 2008 @ 13:40 | Reply

  10. I managed to slip a syllabus by my university-powers-that-be for several semesters that contained this one-sentence paragraph:
    “Yes, there are stupid questions.”

    Comment by Bianca Castafiore — Thursday, 31, July, 2008 @ 01:31 | Reply

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