The eight types of question-askers in class

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Asking questions in class is often terrifying. Anything could go wrong. You could choke on your own spit, accidentally make a comment sound sexual, or lose your voice midway through (damn you, cold weather!!). If you simply prefer to just watch and listen, you might notice that those who do ask fit into one or more of the following categories. Find out which ones after the jump!

For this post, I will assume the question-asker is a guy–pardon the heternormativity.

The Hypnotizer

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This one is arguably everyone’s favorite student in class. He is most likely an international student with an accent that dazzles you. You’ll notice when he is talking because literally every student turns to look at him, nodding their heads in agreement but actually just daydreaming about him singing them a lullaby. Or “Wonderwall” (I can’t be the only one…). He could say, “Poopy pickle pants” and still be making a “valid point” because we just want to hear him keep talking.

The Inquirer

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Hungry for knowledge, this kid’s sentences are littered with emphatic “how’s” and “why’s.” His demeanor is that of one who just has to know it all. This person gives us hope for the future of our generation. The professor loves him, but also dreads not being able to provide a satisfying answer. “Did that answer your question?” the professor may ask nervously. The Inquirer will nod, but proceed to look into space with a perplexed gaze, and maybe even rub his chin (I kid you not, these kids are intense).

The Whisperer

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Maybe all those years of blasting Simple Plan in my room as part of my teenage rebellion have damaged my hearing, but I’m pretty sure some kids are just way too quiet. I present to you the Whisperer, who has everyone leaning in closer trying to make out what he is saying. It gets awkward when he’s asked to repeat the question, only for the professor to be unable to hear once again and just answer with a simple, “Yeah good point. What does everyone think?” Way to dodge the bullet, prof.

The Dude

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“Organic” and “fluid” are staple words in this person’s vocabulary. When he talks, he’ll always try to connect things to the bigger picture. He might reference Buddhism, or that time he visited Machu Picchu and delivered a baby goat. You’ll be craving a fresh-pressed wheatgrass juice when he’s done. You won’t even mind that he used “like” like, 20 times, but you might get annoyed at how keen he is on invading personal space. That chair is not meant to go all the way back, kid.

The Prophet

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The Prophet often comes as a surprise. He is usually quiet throughout the entire class, but every once in a while he’ll ask a question so beautiful and poetic that it’ll leave everyone with their mouths open. Seriously, you’ll want to give him a standing ovation. The professor is his biggest fangirl and we all just want to stick around after class to bask in his wisdom.

The Indefatigable

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It’s 9am. It’s a math class. HOW ARE YOU THIS AWAKE? This person walks in with a smile on his face and a cup of coffee, though it could well be filled with 5-Hour Energy. He picks up on every little mistake the professor makes. Every. Little. Thing. He is either a morning person or just incredibly perceptive. To be honest, I really think he’s just a robot.

The He-doesn’t-even-go-here.

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From a visiting professor to a visiting parent, this person just makes everyone feel awkward. See, it’s not that we don’t want him there, it’s just that his questions are either completely irrelevant or so on point that it puts us all to shame. His courage is admirable, and his wild hand gestures are mesmerizing.

The Apologizer

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Sometimes, we just want to go up and give this person a big hug. Stop saying you’re sorry! Your question was actually not “off topic”! This person will sometimes end her question midway or with a shrug and a quiet “I don’t know.”  Notice that I changed the gender here, since this phenomenon is mostly observed with girls. What’s up with that!? You are a strong, independent woman who don’t need no validation.

If something is on your mind, don’t be afraid to ask! Everyone is probably just as nervous as you are to speak his/her mind. It could also be what makes the professor finally remember your name, and that is a grand accomplishment. Remember that the professor loves our input, and those participation points are just so tempting.

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2 Comments

  1. 8or3aredefinitelybetter

    great article!!! the last point reminded me of this vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQucWXWXp3k (2:50ish is the relevant part but the whole thing is amazing)

  2. instead of writing this post with the disclaimer “assume the question-asker is a guy– pardon the heternormativity” – why not challenge the status quo and write it under the assumption that the question-asker is a female? sorry this is a bit of a tangent but i see this kind of thing all the time. don’t just acknowledge that you’re being heteronormative – challenge yourself to not be heteronormative in the first place! As a female living in a “man’s world,” I would have enjoyed this post more if it was written in a way that challenges the male patriarchal system we live in….
    Just my 2¢.

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