A student in Arnold, Maryland, taught his professor a very important lesson.
Reb Beatty, who teaches business administration at Anne Arundel Community College, told students in his financial accounting class they could bring a “3x5 card” with any information they could fit on it to an exam.
And one of his students, Elijah Bowen, found a genius loophole in Beatty’s instructions.
On the exam day, Beatty walked into his classroom and found Bowen poring over this huge poster board:
“My initial thought was that he wanted to get a few last minutes of cramming in before the exam started and this was something he put together to study,” Beatty told HuffPost. “After approximately a minute and some brief conversation, I realized that this was 3x5 feet and he had the intention of using it on the exam.”
Beatty said that he immediately referred to his syllabus “as well as other places where I provide test instructions” and discovered that he never specified inches in the measurement.
But Beatty wasn’t mad at his clever pupil. Rather, he was impressed.
I am happy when my students are creative, when they think outside the box. And when by doing so they achieve great results.” Reb Beatty
“I am happy when my students are creative, when they think outside the box,” he told HuffPost. “And when, by doing so, they achieve great results.”
Beatty decided to move Bowen to the back of the classroom (“where there was sufficient space”) and allowed him to use his notes.
The teacher found his student’s ability to beat the system so humorous that he posted a photo of Bowen’s brilliance on Facebook. The post soon went viral, receiving over 34,000 likes and 30,000 shares.
Beatty wouldn’t tell HuffPost exactly what grade Bowen earned on the test, but said, “He did well.”
Beatty himself learned something very important from his student.
“I think this experience demonstrates that regardless of our position, we all make mistakes at certain times,” he said. “What is important is how we deal with the mistake and the ramifications.”
“I’m sure a lot of professors would have responded with something along the lines of, ‘Well, you know what I meant, now put it away,’ and therefore lost the opportunity to reward a student for the ingenuity he demonstrated, both in recognizing my error as well as putting that thing together,” he added.
Well said, prof!
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.