I keep having class with the same people. It always takes me a few months to realize this. The faces are different, and the kids answer to different names, but no matter. It's the same set of kids.\nThere's the nodder, the guy who nods in agreement to everything the professor says. He comes in two distinct nodding styles: the constant nodder and the intermittent nodder. I picture the constant nodder going home and icing down the back of his neck to soothe his sore muscles. On the other hand, the intermittent nodder nods here and there (although I've been unable to find a correlation between the nodding and the class instructor actually saying anything of note). \nThen there's the obnoxious hand-raiser. I think the hand-raisers are breeding. There seem to be more every semester, and they keep getting younger and younger. I don't particularly care if you've taken 50 Shakespeare classes or if you feel particularly strongly about biology. Stop raising your hand. There is no need to expound upon a point the teacher just made. The line between participating in class and being a pain is a pretty thick line. You crossed it the second week of your freshman year. My suggestion for the hand raiser? Sit on your hands. \nNext, I turn to the absentee classmate. I never see her until the last few days of dead week, but sure as sunshine, once that next-to-last week of school rolls around, she's adding me to her Facebook friends and reminding me that we ran into each other at a house party a few months ago. And by the way, would I mind lending her my notes? She hates to ask, but ... "It's just that you're such a nice girl, and if it's not too much trouble. Oh, and can you look at this paper? I mean, it's just that you're such a good student." I think there are special circles of hell reserved for the absentee classmate. \nAnd last but not least, there's the sleeper. We've all fallen asleep in class. But the kid who keeps turning up in my classes has transformed classroom sleeping into an art. He opens his textbook on his desk, lays a few pieces of paper strategically about and props his head up on his open hand, taking great pains to keep his upper face hidden from the instructor's view. Sometimes the sleeper tries to hold a pen up as if he's actively taking notes, but this is risky. If the sleeper falls too deeply asleep, the pen might fall to the floor, causing a just-quiet-enough-that-it's-loud racket, both waking the sleeper himself but also risking the danger that the instructor might figure out what's going on. I kind of have a soft spot for the sleeper. Sometimes the sleeper manifests himself in a disarmingly cute boy. Sometimes not, but hey, given my observations, it doesn't hurt to look around and see who appears engrossed in his notes.\nSo I'm writing this column to try and alter the pattern. Sleeper, you're welcome to take my classes next year. You're not too bad. Nodder, hand-raiser and absentee, if I catch you in any more of my classes, I'm filing a restraining order.
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