Phones in class can be more irritating than the students.
Not only do they ring, but students surreptitiously peek at them, poke at them, and generally find them far more interesting that the person standing at the front, spouting alleged truths.
Stephen Barrows, an economics professor at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., decided that shaming always works better than most things.
So his rule is that if the phone goes off, the student must answer it on speakerphone. This is reasonable, in a Bond villain sort of way.
Last week, however, an unexpected event crept up on him and whispered: "Hullo. I'm your comeuppance." (I will try not to spoil it, so if you'd like to stop reading here, we'll wait.)
As Fox 17 reports, Taylor Nefcy's phone rang. Because Barrows is a professor, and teaching lessons might well be his favorite activity on Earth, he replied: "You have to answer it!"
To warm you up for what follows, the whole class heard: "Hi, this is Kevin from the Pregnancy Resource Center. Per your request, I am calling to inform you that the test results have come back positive. Congratulations."
So now, if you haven't yet, please check out what happens next.
Somehow, this April 1 tale unfolds so beautifully that Nefcy and her co-conspirators must have rehearsed and rehearsed.
It is beautifully played, she keeps enough of a straight face, and the limits of public sanction are exposed for all to see. And hear.
As the professor covers his mouth with his papers, even he can see the limits of his wisdom.
If only all economists could do that.