Tuesdays with Professor ____ is a new blogUT series that spotlights the classes and professors at U of T that have made an impact on us. Every third Tuesday we’ll be posting up a blogger’s experience, as a parallel to the book “Tuesdays with Morrie.” It offers much more than just the typical review of the class, but an actual in-depth personal experience of those classes. These are not just any regular class — they are classes that have inspired and sparked a passion in each of us. (And yes, they actually exist!)
Tuesdays with Professor Cobb
As a fourth year student at U of T I can easily say I’ve had almost every type of professor you can imagine. But regardless of the number of professors, lectures and tests I’ve had to go through, one professor in particular always stood out for me. I want to truly express not only my gratitude but also this professor’s ability to spark something in me to become passionate about. In order to do this, I have to backtrack all the way to my first year.
When I was in first year, I heard all the horror stories about U of T. So being a total “noob” you can definitely say I was a bit afraid of what I was about to get myself into. The first day of school, I had my first class: ENG110Y1 – Narrative. Surprisingly, this class was one of the best that I’ve had in my entire U of T career.
For me, ENG110 was more than an English class. It was an eye-opener. I had a charismatic professor — Professor Cobb — who (despite the fact that we were all first year students) gave us all a chance to study the “higher level” novels. I mean he did assign us Foucault, which at the time was like reading another language. But as my T.A. for that class told us, “He really gives you guys credit here because no one assigns a bunch of first years Foucault.”
I looked forward to going to class every Monday and Wednesday morning. Professor Cobb was able to use all types of media and made difficult novels easy for us to understand and work through. That’s not easy considering the fact that we were all fresh out of high school! By bringing in popular shows such as The O.C. and Grey’s Anatomy, he was able to relate them to the novels’ themes and ideas. He pushed the students to think outside the box in a subject that does nothing BUT put certain ideas into carefully selected boxes.
His passion for his work transcended in his lectures and I’d like to believe it really got to the students. Not only was his teaching style out of the ordinary, but it was a joy coming to that class. I kid you not, every Monday and Wednesday Isabel Bader Theatre was a full house no matter what time of the year it was. That’s pretty impressive since it’s usually customary for students to skip class in order to finish their papers and such.
Anytime Professor Cobb is mentioned in conversation with other friends who have taken ENG110, we can go on for hours talking about how amazing that class was. To be honest, we actually have done so. It’s incredible to see that even after all these years of being jaded in the U of T system, there’s actually a glimmering bout of hope that I got to experience during first year.
I think one of the most notable things about Professor Cobb’s class was that I walked away from that class feeling inspired, which is something that’s not easy to accomplish. To feel a sense of inspiration in the midst of our large school is rare. It’s great to see that a professor is able to spark a sense of passion into his/her student(s).
Even though first year is now nothing but a big blur to me, ENG110 and Professor Cobb remain crystal clear. You don’t walk away from a class that inspired you and not remember it! See, regardless of the amount of assignments, essays, exams, midterms etc there’s still a sense of passion buried deep within U of T. It’s not as ‘heartless’ as everyone makes it seem. There’s a hidden gem of a class amongst us, it’s up to you to go out and find that diamond in the rough.