Smart Classrooms Cannot Replace Remarkable Professors

Miles Groth
My French professor had known the writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry during World War II. He had read everything, it seemed, quoting Camus and Gide, Faulkner, Joyce, Pascal, Dostoevsky. On occasion, when a class was going nowhere, he would end it sotto voce with a smiling "Go away. " When my roommate and I decided to interview him about the French Resistance for the college newspaper, he agreed and invited us to his home, where he poured out a glass of white wine for each of us,
more » ... d a ragout de lapin, and went on for a few hours about Malraux and Sartre, and the mysterious disappearance of Saint-Exupéry. I later learned that our interviewee had designed and built most of his house, a Mediterranean stucco bungalow in the middle of Amish country. My German professor brought his arthritic Weimaraner to class. As a boy, he W hat do our students want from us? I asked my provost this question a while ago. He thought I had raised the question rhetorically, or worse, cynically, and expected next a list of complaints about all the demands my students had been making of me, followed by a request for more compensation and release time, and the usual litany of discontents. But my question was asked without any accompanying agenda. In fact, it was not at all a question about us, but about students. I went on spontaneously with a few nostalgic portraits of professors I had had in the late 1960s at a small liberal arts college where I did my undergraduate work.