Sunday, December 16, 2012

RYS Replay. The Stapler.

For me, the whole stapler discussion is almost as important as the cookie discussion. Here's the RYS piece from 2008 that I love the most. Oh, and it includes the distrubing stapler image we recycled earlier this week.



The Stapler.

Here's the graphic
everything gets from now on.
I have about given up on everything in my classes. I can't stop them from talking or turning in shit late, or being in class on time. I cajole and threaten, I take points off, nothing works. They don't care. They flunk and they sign up again next semester. They stop coming and they become someone else's problems.

It makes me crazy.

But I do have one rule. I don't know how it came about, but of all the stuff in my syllabus there's one thing I hold on to. Homework, assignments, and essays must be stapled.

It's bold faced. I'm not even joking. I mention it in class. I talk about it before each thing comes in. I make a joke out of it, so they don't think I've gone completely out of my gourd. I bring staplers to class sometimes. I give them away sometimes. I buy the cheapo minis at our campus store and pass them out. I pick up old ones that the library is going to toss, clean them, oil them, fill them, and pass them out.

I don't even care if my students call me the Stapler Nazi. I figure it's good to be known as something other than just some faceless teaching drone.

So, staplers, you get it? I'm adamant about stapling the work that comes in. And I won't bore you, but seriously, papers get mixed up, they slide around in a big briefcase. Stuff gets lost, mixed in. It slows down my grading. It takes longer to get work back. There's the endless bullshit of, "well maybe you lost it."

My students turn in something almost every day, even if it's just +/- stuff for homework. Staple it, I say. I won't even take it if it's not stapled. That's the RULE. I've given up almost everywhere else. I've let the heathens in through every opening otherwise, but not on this. The world's gone mad, the economy is in shambles, overpopulation, drought, mad cow, Lyme disease, whatever. But you turn in something to me, and it has to be stapled.

So, Jeremy, sweet Jeremy, who's been in my class for 6 weeks now, hands me 20 sheets of rough drafts, notes, graphs, worksheets, etc. as I'm leaving class. I'm late. He's missed most of class because he was getting his stuff together. He catches me at the classroom door and follows along with his excuses while I go down the stairs.

He pulls out the unruly sheaf of papers at the front door. He proffers them. I can see they're fluttering in the breeze, no staple, no nothing. 20 loose sheets of paper that account for about 15% of his grade for the term.

"Stapled?" I say, gulping.

"Uh, couldn't find one," he says, and then he plops them in my hand.

He starts down the stairs, and I stare at the stack of papers. A boy coming up bumps me, and just then a breeze swoops across. Jeremy's papers go everywhere. Fluttering. It's October leaves. They fly and spin and shoot across my field of vision.

Then I see Jeremy at the bottom of the stairs. His mouth is open. He's starting to laugh. "I turned them IN," he says. "You took them. It's your problem NOW..." And he starts into a jog, away from me, across the quad, while his papers still fly free.


  1. that's what you should get if you make your students write more than one page of work. Meanie.

  2. Ha. Don't ever tell a professor that hasn't figured your final grade that "It's your problem now." That just makes them angry. And if your professor is angry, and your laziness, entitlement, and ineptitude has caused them any grief whatsoever, they will make you pay.

    So run away, Jeremy. Run as fast as your legs will carry you. Your professor hasn't graded that unruly sheaf of papers yet.

    I can assure you that you still have a problem.

    1. I thought the same thing. That seems like a special kind of stupid.

    2. When I was in the navy, we were told: "Don't hassle your detailer." A detailer was a sailor, not necessarily of high rank, whose job it was to assign sailors to their next duty stations. If you made the mistake of hassling your detailer, you might get a set of orders you wouldn't believe, such as clean-up crew in Thule, Greenland.

      Of course, if you point this out to a modern student, it's likely they will wail, "YOUR GRADING IS SO-O UNFAIR!" True enough. So is life. So what's your point?

    3. When I was in the the navy, there were two other categories of people who didn't hassle:
      (1) Universally: Your disbursing clerk (the guy who did the magic with your pay records)
      (2) Unique to those in flying jobs: your parachute rigger.

    4. As a new STEM grad student I was told that you should go out of your way to be nice to the technicians, secretaries, tea ladies, cleaners and the guy in the workshop with all the tools - you could fall out with your supervisor and just get grumbled at, but falling out with any of THOSE people really had the potential to mess up your science... same sort of rule really.

  3. And as for the graphic, why is that woman wearing a penis?

  4. I am so excited for you! You can point to your syllabus rules and give this dick a BIG FAT ZERO and ask him to "See Me" - HAPPY XMAS!!!

  5. THE NEXT TIME a student doesn't staple his paper properly (and invariably it's a male), in the way I learned in 2nd grade, so help me I'm GOING TO STAPLE HIS DICK TO THE FLOOR!!!

    1. At my school, students that get their dicks stapled to the floor by their professors get an automatic "A".

      Ask me how I know.

    2. Um, how do you know? (I hate to ask.) Did you use a heavy-duty, industrial-grade staple gun?