Column: Smoot’s tough love

By Gus Bode

You must have heard of her by now. I’m sure that if you know someone that’s had her class, they’ve probably expressed their opinions about her style of teaching and I’m absolutely positive that they shared their thoughts on her tardy policy.

Vicious, ruthless, extravagant, over the top, and just straight up mean. Those are all words that have run through my head as I was walking back from class at 1:01pm because I was one minute late to class, and she hadn’t even started yet! Not to mention the fact that she calls me out almost every time I go to class, and never gives me credit when I provide a good answer to a question.

After spreading all that information out, I have several reasons to dislike Dr. Pamela Smoot, but I don’t. Most days, I really want to, especially when she sends me home early or when I’m the only one she makes take their hat off in class. But I can’t. Even when she thinks she heard me come into the classroom late and subsequently kicks me out, and then I try to slam a swinging door, I still like Pamela Smoot.


I’m making this one of my last columns, even though I wrote it back in February, because I didn’t want my class to think I was brown nosing to get a better grade or something like that. Not that it wasn’t my intention, I just knew not to bother because it wouldn’t work. I’m writing this out of respect. Few people have been able to get and keep my full attention in a classroom with their theatrics, and then there’s Dr. Smoot.

She’s loud, mean, smart, educational and funny all at once. Granted a lot of the funny comes from the mean, but still, she’s does a pretty good job. The crowd is her audience, and she’s the star of the show. She has no problem punishing the entire class by making you write, a lot, for about 35 minutes. She’s also quick to reel ’em back in if she’s had them hooked for over half the class. You can see on her face how much she loves it the laughter, the fear, the applause and most importantly: the spreading of knowledge.

You see, that’s her best quality, the fact that she’s a teacher. Don’t let the theatrics fool you. She may get her dialect and charisma from the hood, but she got her knowledge from the books. I hadn’t even asked her any questions about her life yet, but I know that she worked for hers.

For almost my entire career here, I’ve punched the cruise control, coasting by on my smarts and my wit. I was always reluctant to give my full effort, instead relying on my ability to get by with no effort. That’s why I can’t hate Dr. Smoot.

Why do I respect her so much? She’s not going to let me get by on a whim an effort that would be just barely enough. She makes me work for myself. I can’t just have a good grade; I have to take the opportunity to make it. Coming in late isn’t acceptable, I have to be on time. She doesn’t just teach you lessons in the classroom, she teaches you lessons in life.

A lot of people will read this and won’t get it. They won’t understand what it’s like to be humiliated in front of the class for not knowing the answer to her question. To all those people, I strongly recommend that you find out in her class. Just be prepared to work.