One of the things that I miss about science or math classes is teachers saying 'you're wrong' when you're wrong. 9 is not 4 cubed no matter how badly you want to protect your student's tender feelings. In English classes, every idea is 'on the right track' or 'getting there,' even if it is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out in left field.
This semester, refreshingly, I have not one but two professors who will tell you flat out that you are grasping at straws when you read the industrial revolution into each and every one of William Blake's poems. They will tell you that they don't quite see where you are going with that statement, instead of trying to finish it for you and legitimize it with some actual content. And then this morning, my one professor (who is dowdy and has bad hair and who I love) says, mid-lecture and without missing a beat, 'and if this isn't terribly interesting to you, there are plenty of other places you can go and chat,' at which point the two boobalicious brunettes apologize and put away their iPod and pretend to pay attention (for about fifteen minutes, and then one puts her head on the desk and takes a nap, and the other goes to the bathroom for half an hour, and this is a 300-level course! I hope she flunks them). I love that in a professor. I appreciate the need to nurture, to encourage, to gently guide young minds along the path of learning, but there are times when sternness is in order. And maybe a caning.