Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Student Smackdown, more or less

Oh, hell yeah.

Pompous Ass: No I don't need help teaching the class, and if I did, it wouldn't be from you, considering you haven't been to most of our meetings.  I'm not sure what kind of a pushover class you decided this was, but my records show you never even accessed the study guide for the final - your grade on it showed the same thing.  Too bad your final carried a truly dizzying percentage of your grade.  Seriously, I told you to study.

My "Best Friend": We're not buddies, dude.  Seriously.  I'm flattered that you recruited someone for my class for next semester, but then again, that was before you saw your final grade.  You were almost always in class, sure, but never taking notes or turning in any of your homeworks probably hurt you some.

Stoner Dude: I saw you twice.  Twice, the whole semester.  Then you come in and ace the final.  While walking through the classroom after the final - and after you're long gone - I find a bunch of filled in study guides for all the previous tests laying in the general vicinity of where you sat.  Not solid evidence of cheating, more's the pity.  I would have loved to catch you red-handed, you smug son-of-a-bitch.  You ever get on radar again and I'll be watching you like a hawk.

Blondie: You said you picked up a major in our department because you liked my class.  Sure, you're smart, but given that I find most of your views not merely wrong but abhorrent, I'm not sure what to make of the fact that you enjoyed my class so much.

Career Student: Yes, your significant other took this class last semester.  That does not mean you can skip 80% of our meetings and still expect to do well.  Your SO got an "A," but he actually showed up.

Journalism Joe: Damnit, kid, you're completely screwing up my curmudgeonly mojo, here.  You wrote a brilliant paper on the wrong subject.   What, you can't read instructions?  It pains me to mark this paper down, but I just gotta.  You'll no doubt do fine in life, but not nearly as well as you could be doing if you'd just pay attention a little bit more.  But, then, people often said the same about me, and I turned out okay, I guess.


  1. Re: Journalism Joe...

    What the eff is it with some of these kids and their inability to do the assignment as written?

    I once had a student write a brilliant paper on the wrong topic too! I twisted my rubric in knots just to get her to a C. She seemed to understand why, but she became one of the bitter pills who slammed me in the evals that inspired my nickname.

    In the olden days, would these kids have just been flunked on these assignments? Or would the fact they wrote a good paper over-rule the fact the paper had little to nothing to do with the assignment?

    Sometimes I really do think option 2 is how they were treated not just in high school, but also in their other college classes.

  2. Brilliant Paper on the Wrong Subject is a big ol' red flag for plagiarism in my book. I Google a couple of particularly poignant phrases and voilá--the source emergeth. But sometimes it's just a case of "light's on but nobody's home." I'd rather deal with absent-mindedness than a lack of ethics.

  3. I took a class once with Stoner Dude. He actually showed up, but we all wished he'd stayed home. He had achieved the level of baked known as "perma-stoned" and spoke in the I've-smoked-fifty-blunts-and-had-a-case-of-whiskey voice. He would be consistently five minutes behind the discussion. It was painful to see the prof, a polite young woman, try to tactfully force his incoherent comments toward some sort relevancy.

  4. "Brilliant Paper on the Wrong Subject" is also a red flag for plagiarism in my book, but more along the lines of "I wrote this paper for another class and got an A on it, so I will just recycle it here."

  5. Well, in my instance, the student just missed the point of the assignment. We read a document covering inter-related topics A, B, and C (essentially differentiating between them). The paper was supposed to be on A, which was in the title of the assignment; students could have perhaps included a little of B because it could be a corollary of A.

    But, student wrote about C, which might have been fine if she had done the intellectual acrobatics to link it back to A; this would have been a stretch though. Sadly, she didn't.


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