Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The Easier Way
I started my Anatomy class this morning. A friend of mine took the teacher before and highly recommended him. I can see why; he's easy-going, clear and has a sense of humor.
Like most college classes, we spent the first class going through the syllabus, textbook requirements, class rules, procedures, etc. He also covered cheating. As a former teacher, I certainly could relate: he told stories of students cheating in the past-- primarily writing "cheat sheets," including one creative student who had a retractable cheat sheet that he could slip up his sleeve when he waved his hand over his hair. Obviously, the teacher caught him.
I noted that as a teacher, I'd observed the same thing that he observed-- that most students who cheat end up putting more effort into it than if they had simply studied.
I was reminded of a story I read years ago involving the great actor Sir Lawrence Olivier, who was making the less-than-great movie Marathon Man with Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman had to film a scene with Olivier in which Olivier tortures him with dental instruments. Hoffman showed up for that day's filming haggard and exhausted-looking. Olivier was concerned, and asked him what was wrong. Method actor Hoffman replied that anticipating a scene in which he was required to appear beaten up and exhausted, he had stayed up all night. Olivier, incredulous, replied "My dear boy-- wouldn't it have been easier to simply act?"