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Brown Nosers and True Blue Students

A Brief Essay on the Differences

steven paglierani 2

Warning. Contains Gross References. If you are easily offended, please do not read.

Has anyone ever called you a brown noser? Did it hurt your feelings? This emergence transcript is excerpted from a brief exchange between one of my students and myself. This student has two Masters degrees in teaching and still worries she'll be seen by her classmates in a bad light.

Colleen is one of my students. Here is what she wrote.

Hi Group,

Because I can see some of you are struggling with the homework, I submitted my latest homework in hopes that it might help some of you to read a few examples if you are stuck trying to think of something to write.

I have to admit that I almost didn't send them (and wanted to hold back parts 3 and 4 even though I had them written up) as I'm a little embarrassed that my husband and I are the only one's who have done the homework so far.  I feel good about doing the homework and had fun doing it, but I don't want to be perceived as a “brown noser” (Yes, I, Colleen, am using potty talk). Someone called me that in 7th grade and I had no clue what they were talking about until I went home and asked my sister.  I guess it's that crossing over to the teacher's side thing.  It feels, to me, that by doing our homework on time, that my husband and I have to leave you all on the other side… Ouch! I don't want to leave you.



Here is my reply.

Come on, Colleen. What's a little potty talk between friends . . .

Seriously though, after reading your email, it occurred to me that perhaps no one has ever taught you the difference between being a brown noser and a good student. With this in mind, I offer you the following:

A brief essay on the difference between Brown Nosers and True Blue Students

Since the beginning of time, there have always been Brown Nosers and True Blue Students, and both have always been in the minority. Which is to say, if you were to survey the classrooms of the past few thousand years, I think you'd find that most students are simply there because they have to be. Sad really. But that's the way it is when parroting is the lesson du jour.

So do Brown Nosers parrot? Occasionally. More likely though they focus on creatively stimulating the teacher's rectal area. Quickly. Concisely. And with a modicum of flare. No parroting for them, mind you. Being especially quick and surprisingly sly are the elements they focus most on. And to reach the prize; the teacher's hidden winky, they must be especially quick and surprisingly sly.

"Nicely done, Katrina. You get an A for bending lower than the limbo pole."

Brown nosers are very good at doing the limbo.

True Blue Students also focus on creative surprises. However, the creative surprises they create, they create mostly to surprise themselves. Know that this may create more sh!t than Christmas tinsel in a toaster if the student reveals her discoveries in front of the class and upstages the teacher.

In rare cases, though, this goes especially well. But only in cases wherein the teacher herself was once a True Blue Student. In which case, the teacher usually grins with pride and is all too happy to joyfully recognize the student's contribution. To the class, as well as to herself.

Socrates was a True Blue Student. Which is probably why he was always in so much trouble. I'm also sure that in his youth, his fellow students called him a Brown Noser too. Jealousy mostly. Or envy is that is your bent. Whatever the case, the fact that he considered himself to be a "mid wife" for ideas tells us that he was all too happy to see his students creatively contribute to his classes. Which is only one of the wonderful things which made him one of the greatest teachers of all time.

The question now arises, so do Brown Nosers ever become famous teachers too? Yes, Grasshopper, they do. In fact, Socrates' main student, Plato, started out his teaching career as a Brown Noser extraordinaire. However, when the Athenian Parrot Patrol killed his friend and teacher, ole Soc, the True Blue Student emerged in him.

The most important question of all though has yet to be asked here; so are there ever people who are BOTH a Brown Noser and a True Blue Student. Here, the answer may surprise you. Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes. About every hundred years there comes just such an exceptional student. A combo student. A Rainbow Nosed Blue and Browner. Better known as a "B and B."

Here, Da Vinci is a good example. He could Brown Nose with the best of them, while at the same time, creatively upstaging every one around him for the next two hundred years. And while I'm certain he could also limbo with the best of them, he remains one of my heroes as he was a black belt kung fu master of Consciously Brown Nosing to teach Parrot type people a lesson. Something I daily aspire to myself.

By the way, Colleen, I'm sure you know this already but I figured I'd mention it. Da Vinci's students more times than not got lost in emulating the "brown" part of their teachers nose while forgetting about the blue part. A shame really. Then again, from what we know about Da Vinci, he really liked his Hershey portal tickled.

Lastly, there is a wonderfully easy way to tell the difference between a Brown Noser and a True Blue Student. The nose of a Brown Noser always smells funny. The nose of a True Blue Student only smells mysteries.

From this test alone then, it is easy to see that you, Colleen, are a True Blue Student. Of this, I have no doubt.

With warm regards from your teacher,


P. S. And just in case I haven't gotten across my message across to you, I'm asking you to Stop Holding Back! From this day forth, I firmly decree you must be you. Period. And stop worrying so much about what others have to say about you. I will always be proud of you. And be all too willing to brag about what you yourself discover. I'd love that.

That goes for all the rest of you TBS's too.

Be yourselves.