I was at a really interesting seminar the other day which was largely about writing and the cinema. Was too short. But some of the incidental conversation was troubling. The visitor was pointing out how many of the undergraduates (as opposed to the postgraduates) struggle to get what is being discussed, or why it matters. There were supportive nods of heads and comments about how one or two would get it, the intent being that these are the ones who matter. This is self serving romantic nonsense that is the university myth we all hold dear. Imagine if primary and secondary school teachers had this understanding of their role and value as educators, and if your child wasn’t one of those one or two. The problem I have with this is that I was once one of those students. I relished the university experience, but the university didn’t teach me how to relish it, it didn’t teach me how to be ‘theoretical’, I came primed and already ready. Most of my peers, as with most of my students, don’t get ‘theory’ in the way we academics do, but we teach it as if they should and those that do get HDs and those that don’t get confused. When do we stop and wonder how to teach to the other 22 in the room? Surely that is what constitutes good teaching? All of us can wheel out our HD students as evidence of our teaching brilliance, except these students will almost certainly already be academically inclined and this will have had little, if anything, to do with us. This is another version of the ‘little academics‘ model, a Lacanian mirror phase moment where we misjudge the reflection of ourselves in these students as an imprimatur of our own ability.