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Teaching Fellow Mistakes Head-Scratch for Raised Hand

Pilker, pictured above, is always ready to hear student opinions on the class readings, lectures, sports, and social activities.
On Friday, Steve Pilker, graduate student and teaching fellow for Anthropology 145: The Surprising Lives of the Russian Pigeon Stalkers, reportedly led a class section and mistook for a raised hand what was in reality only a clandestine head scratch. After asking an open-ended question regarding the Pigeon Stalkers' unique feather-based writing system, Pilker reportedly began looking in turn at each student in the conference room before latching onto Mike Rogers, a junior whose psoriasis had compelled him to lift a hand above shoulder level. 
Students witnessing the event told reporters that Pilker had nodded encouragingly at Rogers while raising his eyebrows, adding a “Yes, Michael?” Rogers looked up startled, before replying that “Oh, no, I was just scratching my head.” Pilker reportedly contested Rogers’s claim, asking him if he was, in fact, so certain that he had not raised his hand, only to be assured by Rogers that he had not even the slightest residue of intelligent thought to add to the conversation. “I was afraid this might happen,” Rogers later told reporters. “I did everything I could; I had my eyes down toward the floor, elbow in close to my side, palm turned away from him, but still he got me. I don’t know how he does it.”
This is not the first time that Pilker has mistaken subconscious body movements for attempts to participate in section. Students have gone on record stating that the teaching fellow also picks up on stretching, clothing adjustment, accidental eye contact and resting one’s head on one’s hand.

Someone needs to look into this,” said Rogers. “If it doesn’t get fixed, I’m going to have to start contributing to the class.”

© 2012