Professor tells student "Australia isn't a country" and gives her a failing grade


Like a Schrödinger’s platypus?


This reminds me, way back in 8th Grade US History, the teacher claimed that there wasn’t any continent that had a single form of government. I asked “what about Australia?” and she (gruffly) explained that no, because one must count all of Oceania along with the continent/island/landmass called Australia. She might’ve been my least-favorite teacher, ever. She might’ve at least trotted out the technicality that you’ve just explained.

I (as an American) had always thought that “professor” meant someone who has earned a doctorate-level degree. When my wife enrolled in a community college, suddenly the instructors self-identified as “professors.” I think, though, that I might’ve have unfairly jumped to conclusions – perhaps they had, in fact, swallowed their swazzles!


Cara, what a strange Land. Beautiful, but Very strange for me.


I have seen a few but they never decohere.


Did you tap them with the clapper?


It’s not tho. It’s a dominion of the British common wealth. Same as “Canada”.


you can’t give those people any latitude!


That must explain all the things that can kill you.


Strictly speaking, that’s a “Doctor”. However, in the US there is no regulation of titles, so anyone can call themselves any damn thing they please, and you can call anyone anything you can get away with without a punch in the nose. On balance “Professor” doesn’t seem a bad term for someone professing something at the front of a classroom. The old European tradition of “Professor” as a kind of academic lordship is gradually dying, thank goodness; it is a stultifying tradition. (I say this as a full professor at a major university.)




This article has an autoplay video on the page. Just letting you know.


I cannot stop laughing at this comment.


It occurs to me, though - if the instructor was still insisting on “Australia-the-Country” rather “Australia-the-Continent”, maybe she just meant that you shouldn’t forget Tasmania, since it’s part of “Australia-the-Country”, but not part of “Australia-the-Continent”?

Nahh, probably not.


Natural deposits of pink slime.


Didn’t the ol’ Statute of Westminster take care of that?

There is a small contingent that regards “Canada Day” as sort of lame and that the holiday of July 1 ought to be “Dominion Day”. But that’s different business.


Except … that’s even less right. Australia the continent includes Tasmania. But it also includes New Guinea, giving a total of three countries, not just the one that the assignment asked for.


There was a bit going on before the colonies too.

(Plus about a dozen micro-nations that have declared independence since).


Okay, this is completely tangential to the thread, but for a word (and a plant) that only arrived in Europe/England after the Spanish invasion of South America circa 1530s, that is such a beautiful proliferation of spellings!

The number of and wide geographical sourcing for these variants reflects the popularity of the spud as a crop, and how ridiculously easy it is to grow (just so long as you grow different lineages to guard against blights).

(Wish I could say all this in Strine, of course.)


The initial error is fair enough, but if you’re about to give a paper that deserved a B+ an F based on said “fact”; you damn well should spend 10 seconds on google to confirm your concerns.

I mean she literally had to type “Australia” into google and not even click a link to see these sentences:

“Australia officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country”

Australia is a country and continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Country in Oceania

Hilariously, (at least with local search results from Australia), you’ll also currently see this:

Top stories
Student fails assignment after professor claims ‘Australia is not a country’
7 hours ago

I suspect that particular teacher is regretting not spending the 3 seconds it would have taken nip this in the bud early…