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Office Hours Not Just for Help With Coursework, Also for Hearing Story of Professor's Success

During the first week of classes this fall, Professor Theodore Sanders of the Political Science department turned heads by shattering the mold of traditional first-day comments, telling students that his office hours were not just for questions about coursework. In fact, Sanders announced that students were welcome to join him in his office to ask about “the class, political science in general, my career path in political science, or why it is that so many others in the field have failed while I have reached such extreme levels of success.”

Aware that his groundbreaking office hours guidelines might come as a shock to students, Sanders generously rephrased them nine times throughout the lecture. “I’m also having office hours right now in my office right upstairs,” he said at the end of class, while viciously gesticulating towards the ceiling to help those students unfamiliar with the meaning of the word 'upstairs'. “I know you don’t have any assignments yet, but it might be a good opportunity to get some tips on the class and how you can become more like me some day.”

Susan Walton ‘21 attended Sanders’ office hours early in the semester and saw that his tantalizing offer had been true. Walton, who approached Sanders for advice about how to best structure her paper on the function of the Supreme Court, was treated to a slideshow documenting Sanders’ rise to relevance, fame, and (very relative) fortune as a teacher, a researcher, and a visionary thinker of immense value to society. The slideshow included scans of Sanders’ middle school report cards and high school math tests, and video clips of his “super gritty” performance in the 1989 New Hampshire high school basketball state championship game.

“Kids come in so worried about these trivial things,” Sanders told Haystack reporters, his immense concern apparent. “It’s all these questions that really just aren’t important like ‘how can I make this a better paper?’ or ‘can you explain this concept?’ There’s so much more I can help them with than just my class, so much I can share with them about what comes after college, like my story of continuing to go to school and then getting a job at a college.”

Other students have been treated to stories of Sanders’ time in an a cappella group as an undergrad and his magnificently charming, cobbled-together existence in his mid-twenties living off of nothing but his meager graduate student salary and monthly checks from his father. He has been seen on multiple occasions demonstrating proper push-up position and form for interested students. To set himself apart even further, Sanders has chosen not to give students grades on their papers this semester, and to instead provide comments about how they can write more like he did at their age.


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