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Page 21 text:
DR, ARTHUR H. WHITE
Page 20 text:
The Relationship Between Professor
By Arthur H. White, M. D.
N common with most other things in or on this
earth, the relationship between professor and student
may be looked upon from a varying' number of stand-
points. It is, however, only necessary or pertinent
for us to consider two objectives-that of the pro-
fessor in his dizzy elevation of learning' and great-
ness, and that of the student, occupying- his forlorn
position at the bottom of the pit of unenlightenment.
From the point of view of the professor, the relation-
ship to his class is usually of a most pleasant char-
acter, assuming' always, however, a certain amount
of ability and willingness to learn on the part of his
students, and on his part a knowledge of how best
to impart to his hearers a modicum of that combi-
nation of the ologies with which his head is so well
Hy far the most important consideration in the
bond between professor and student is mutual con-
fidence and co-operation. This is a sine qua non of
all academic and scientific learning', and in its absence
results are nil and scholars are an absent quantity.
Many of the ablest men of our profession have made
most abject and miserable failures as teachers, not
from any lack of knowledge of the subject which
they undertook to teach, but entirely on account of
their inability to acquire the faculty of co-operating
with those whom they were attempting' to teach.
The cause of this fault is, in diPferent men, due to
many different traits, the commonest, perhaps, being
an overweening assumption of dignity on the part
of the lecturer. The type was more common in the
past than in the present-a concentrated essence of
standoffishness and dignity encased in a frock coat
and more or less completely hidden behind a large
output of most learned and high-sounding medical
phraseology, punctuated at discreet intervals by a
Page 22 text:
most pompous clearing of the throat and accentuated
now and then by sonorous "haws" and "ahems," most
comforting to the self-esteem of the speaker. This
type is, perhaps fortunately, becoming a rara avis,
it having been generally noted in the keen struggle
ofthe survival of the fittest that the hypertrophied
dignity was more than counterbalanced by an
atrophied teaching ability.
Another common cause of incompatibility, and one
that is absolutely inimical to the maintenance of a
proper relationship between teacher and taught, and
to the development of the mind of the student along
the lines of the subject under study, is a desire on the
part of the professor "to be easy on the class." The
class, as a rule, and I say it with all due acknowl-
edged respect, but, nevertheless, with a knowledge
gained of many "profs" and many students-the class,
I say, will, as a rule, be easy enough on itself. Occa-
sionally we read of a student dying of overstudy.
I say we read of it. VVhen a professor tells you that
he wants to make things easy for you, watch him
and see if he does not make things easy for himself
and slight a corresponding amount of work. Had
things been "made easy" for every one in his college
days, there would now be a most woeful dearth of
good medical men on this green footstool.
Yet again, a fruitful cause of discord is the practice,
seemingly inherent in some men, which is most pic-
turesquely, if not best, described as "crabbing." The
verb "to crab," I am told by the best authorities on
slang and colloquialisms Cnow attending one of 1ny
classesj, means to bite, to pinch, to irritate, to crawl,
having the characteristics of a crab.
I-Iow many of you have seen this man-querulous,
fault-finding, inadequate in his teaching and insin-
cere in his quizzing, whose chief purpose in life seems
to be todemonstrate to his discouraged students that
they are a hopeless and impossible aggregation of
undesirables, still possessing some of the attributes
of human intelligence, but surely and irrevocably
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