I had gotten so sick of the tiny, idiotic errors my students make when they turn material in for grades. There are formats for professional work. There are guidelines. If students want to be taken seriously, I think they need to present material in such a way that IT can be taken seriously.
Well, over the years it seems that has become a quaint, old fashioned notion. My colleagues have let those little concerns go. (They brag about it, in fact.)
But after 2 terribly messy sets of assignments so far this semester I said to my students:
You know that handout I give at the start of the semester showing you the accepted format for professional, graded work? Well, you're not all meeting that. Some of you are clearly not even trying to meet it. I've only taken minor points off so far, because I really am focused most on getting your critical thinking improved. But now, as we ease into the home stretch of this semester, I'm making those guidelines a requirement for a grade. I won't grade your next assignments unless you follow - to the letter - the guidelines I passed out in class and published online. In fact, here are the guidelines again.
And then last week, before they took Spring Break, I had a 30 minute session at the end of class to review those guidelines and again stress that professional work needs to meet certain reader expectations, and THESE were what they were in this class.
When I gathered up the projects this week, I didn't dare even peek. But I laid them on my desk this morning and 75% of them showed that their writers had ignored or misunderstood the most simple and obvious steps as required. I'm not grading those. I'm kicking them back. I'll let them resubmit, but I will kick them back until they're done the right way.
My college is full of feel-good proffies. We're a bunch of "sitting outside, bringing cookie-motherfuckers" here, and students pretty much run the show.
But not next week. Next week they're going to get shook, and I hope I don't get stomped by any shoe that may drop.