Home Podcasts THMG061 – Acute Toxic Classroom Syndrome

THMG061 – Acute Toxic Classroom Syndrome

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In the last episode of the year, we discuss acute toxic classroom syndrome (ATCS), which is something we’ve all dealt with at some point.

Complete Show Notes

2:35 What is Acute Toxic Classroom Syndrome?

  • This is a result of when a tedious topic is thrust upon us by instructors who are possibly unqualified or uninformed
  • Their delivery is lackluster, and this usually leads to feelings of revolt and rebellion, rather than awe and learning

3:35 How Do We Experience ATCS?

  • Administrators
    • To the untrained eye, they seem oblivious of the unrelenting hazard that’s being imposed
    • They think they’re serving the best interests of the organization by providing the course in the first place
    • Their focus is typically trained on the final outcome, regardless of any casualties incurred along the way
    • The end game is getting names and ID numbers certified – actual people exiting class is secondary and providing meaningful instruction is destroyed in hopes of getting students certified despite what was actually retained
  • Instructors
    • While their task is nearly insurmountable, they’re bound to success not only by the duty to teach, but also by their belief that no class is too dry or boring
    • They craft the presentation to the point where even their eyes glaze over – at this point, they click “save” and say “Good enough”
  • Students
    • Sign up for the class months in advance and ask, “How bad can it be?”
    • The night before, they begin to dread the class and look for any excuse to be absent
    • These excuses include childcare, car trouble, calendar mistakes, and the option of working overtime

6:00 Symptoms of ATCS

  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Broken noses because of heads hitting desks
  • Stupor
  • Unconsciousness
  • Hostility
  • Link between hibernation and sleeping in class
  • Sudden-onset ADD – a crack in the ceiling becomes a point of interest
  • Bilateral stroke face
  • Full-on Bell’s palsy

7:55 Pathophysiology of ATCS

  • The sound wave
    • Begins when the instructor greets the classroom
    • A single or monotone pressure wave is produced from the platitudinous pedagogue that strikes the tympanic membrane
    • This sends a cascade of impulses to various parts of the brain that affects both sympathetic and parasympathetic systems
  • Drooling
    • This can be caused by the following:
      • Allergies
      • Tumors
      • Infections, including strep throat, tonsillitis, and sinusitis
      • Neuro-impairment caused by the dulling of the brain

9:00 Reduction of ATCS Symptoms

  • High-octane coffee helps
  • There’s a direct correlation between temperature and volume – low temperatures mean the instructor can speak more quietly, while high temperatures mean they need to speak loudly
  • For instructors
    • Lesson learned
    • Drill instructor style
    • War story – drifters, draft dodgers, paper tigers, laughing at one’s own joke
  • For students
    • Study about time, distance, and shielding to learn about keeping your distance from a toxic instructor
    • People in the front row have less interaction with a toxic instructor, despite popular opinion that those in the back can avoid them best
    • Use of protective concepts – includes cell phone use and side conversations
    • Honeymoon strategy of tuning in and out as often as possible – benefits include continued circulation and breathing, a reduction in blood clots, and a reduction in Bundy-style thoughts
    • Cerebral shoring (holding your head up) – use single hand, double arm, book on forehead, or a buddy’s shoulder
  • Advanced techniques
    • Intentional sabotage of the instructor pathway by supplying bad information/facts, supplying unverifiable information, and making a confused face when presented with facts (try the olive oil technique)
    • Buddy system – make friends with the instructor before class so you’re less likely to be called on
    • Newspapers – find papers with crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, cartoons, etc. – this is only for highly-skilled students
    • Late to class questions – surefire way to have violent interactions with fellow classmates in the parking lot if you delay class – there’s little effect of straight time attendance and overtime attendance having any effect on classroom proceedings
    • 15-minute break – this is recommended per hour of instruction to reduce the possibility of these symptoms

24:00 Setting Up the Classroom

  • Student perspective
    • Find a seat near an outlet – use this to power your phone
    • Bring an extra battery to events
    • Always have the Wi-Fi password
    • Determine the replenishment rate of coffee and figure out where the cream, milk, and sugar are
    • Use your finger to mix scalding hot coffee – it’ll keep you awake
    • Stand up
    • Make phone calls – stage them to give yourself a mental break when necessary
    • Know all exit pathways and points of egress – no time to do this once the onslaught begins – the middle of the classroom is best
    • Intestinal sabotage – eat an early breakfast so you have to use the restroom frequently
  • Instructor perspective
    • Ensure strong coffee is available and minimal contaminants – uncomfortable students are more concerned, which makes the brain work
    • Make the room cold enough that penguins may pop up from under the desks
    • Rehearse so you’re not stuttering over your slides
    • Video tag team
    • Avoid the effect of 30 lifeless eyes and the lack of verbal interactions that many instructors have experienced before
    • Remember that you’d rather teach than be taught
    • Purposefully misspell words to keep students on their toes
    • Try to pick interesting class topics
    • Help them develop Stockholm Syndrome

    Have a question? Send an email to feedback@thehazmatguys.com or leave a message on our Haz Mat Guys comment hotline: 843-628-1484

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    Author: The HazMat Guys


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