Friday, May 3, 2013

"We are ALL mean. We are ALL horrible. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa." From Horrible Meanie Prof.

Including contributions from multiple colleagues, a collection of mean horrible things we have done to our little darlin’s this semester.
  • We didn't MAKE you do the homework, so it’s not fair that we based the final on homework questions.
  • We refused to add “ten lousy points” to your final average so you could pass the course, and now it will require a WHOLE ADDITIONAL YEAR to finish your degree.
  • When you actually make the effort to answer an in-class question (with a single noun, when the questions was, “why . . ?”), instead of fawning on you for your excellent class participation, we actually ask you to answer in a sentence.
  • We don't give out candy in class.
  • We didn't give you a three week pass on classes and assignments when your father’s best friend passed away and your whole family was “really sad.”
  • We won’t regrade all of your work from the whole semester to find enough points so you get an A instead of an A-
  • We actually expect attendance on the first day of class (and the last day of class), and actually cover course content on those days, instead of just having you all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
  • We make up new required homework problems every semester instead of using the ones from the textbook  - the textbook whose solution manual is pretty widely available online.
  • We won't let you use cell phones or computers in class.
  • We embarrassed you by dropping a book on the floor, causing you to fall out of your chair as you suddenly work up.
  • We show no trust in you at all by requiring that you submit all of your assignments through SafeAssign and TurnItIn.
  • We won’t accept homework more than 6 weeks late
  • After displaying an 12-foot high internet clock on the projection screen, after time reminders at 15, 10 and five minutes left, after calling the end of the exam twice, we left the exam room without your exam and REFUSED TO ACCCEPT IT as you chased us across campus.
  • It was rude of us to point out that your exam grade was closer to YOUR age than to mine. (actually, it was closer to the age of my son, a high school senior).
  • We insisted on teaching the content WE wanted to teach, instead of the content YOU, the CUSTOMER, wanted us to teach.


  1. We gave you a measly C-minus in spite of your borderline passing grade on the final, choosing not to ignore the facts you failed all three exams, skipped the last three weeks of class and didn't turn in a single homework set.

    Do take the course again (with somebody else). It is required for your major, and will make you a better person.

    1. And that deserves a C-minus? A C-minus is a borderline passing grade.

    2. Ah, but you see, he/she will have to take the course again: at my place, you have to pass with at least a C for the course to be used towards the major, and this course is required.

  2. We insist that you actually write comprehensible English prose, even though you're a writing major and are so obviously superior to us mere scientists who have only been reading actual books for three times as long as you've been alive.

  3. We penalize you for mistakes on the work you've turned in, instead of heaping praise on you believe your future employers will do each time you do anything because you're all such geniuses.

    We actually insist that your work conform to the standards you'll be expected to meet once or if you ever manage to get a job after graduation--assuming you'll manage to successfully finish your studies.

    We expect you for using that thing between your ears for actual thinking, unlike what you use it for, which is keeping your ears from colliding.

    We expect you for take responsibility for your actions, rather than letting you off the hook when you fob it off on your buddies or the fact that you're having a "bad" day.

    We don't cancel lectures or lab sessions so that everybody can watch the country's team play for a medal in its Olympic event.

    We use our lectures for actual teaching of course material rather than discussing whatever TV show grabbed your attention the night before and whatever cute actress happened to be in the cast.

    We expect you to understand the terminology and jargon associated with the course material because that's what's written in the standard reference books you'll be using in industry, even if those words are longer than 4 letters in length and have multiple syllables.

    We expect you to conduct yourselves as professional ladies and gentlemen rather than letting you be comfortable and act like the hooligans you'd rather be.

    We expect you to pay attention to what we're saying and insist you remain silent unless you're asking a sensible question or answering one.

    1. Are you sure you are not channeling me?

      Or me you?

    2. Oh, this is just such a wonderful list.

  4. We don't give you what you want when you don't give us what we want. That's unfair.

  5. The 6 week late homework thing cracked me up. There is no responsibility taken among some students. Just turn it in when they have it. And by then I've forgotten the assignment, it's half done at best, and its usefulness has long passed.

    And they give it to me as if they were presenting me with a rare prize, a turd that has sat out in the sun too long.

    1. It's always baffled me how the concept of deadlines escaped many of my students. In industry, there are consequences if things aren't done on time. Contracts can be cancelled, revenue lost, companies go under, and, ultimately, people find themselves out of work.

      I think that many of my students got a rude awakening when, after graduating and going to work for a living, they found out that their paycheques depended in part on being punctual.

  6. A hundred years ago, when I was a grad student, a profane and brilliant teacher once said to a dullard who finally got an answer right in class and was waiting for praise, "What do you want? You got one right. You want a handjob?"

    It was a different time.

  7. We expect you to sit through a 50-minute class period even though you have an EMERGENCY hangnail that MUST be taken care of by the student clinic NOW.

    We don't care if your roommate needs a ride to the store.

    Your boyfriend who is visiting from home cannot hold your hand during the final exam.

    We will not talk to your mom about why she thinks we should raise your grade.

    We expect that your dental appointment isn't made during class.

  8. I spent AN HOUR today dealing with a student who wrote the paper he wanted to write and insisted that it fulfilled the parameters of the assignment (it doesn't). We met with a dean, even. Still will not accept that I know what I am doing and that what he wrote is not what the assignment asks for.

    The kicker is that he's the second one this semester. The first one was pissed about his 42% F (for going off on a completely tangential rant) and hasn't been back to class since early April.

    Can I go get a drink now?

  9. We keep you in class even though the sun is shining and flowers are blooming.

    We won't pick up your coffee cups, soda cans, sandwich wrappers, pizza crusts chicken bones and the greasy bag from your French fries.

    We expect you to bring pens, pencils, paper and a dictionary to class.

    We don't give you credit for having attended class when you show up five minutes before it ends.

    We didn't remind you that the paper is due today.

    1. Your comment about being a janitorial service reminds me of an instructor from a different department I worked with.

      Our department was allowed to use some of their facilities for the lab sessions in one of our courses. The place I used was the responsibility of that instructor. One day, as we checked out the equipment, he found an empty potato chip bag, left behind, I assume, by one of his department's students. He picked it up and said something like: "We should remind Mr. Chips that his mom doesn't work here."

      I often had students crumple up paper and then toss it beside their desks. I'd yell at them: "Pick it up and put it in the dustbin!" Often, the response was: "Oh, I'll do it when we're finished here." "Pick it up and put it in the dustbin--NOW!" I'd reply. The student in question would then get up, moaning and grumbling, but do as I told him or her.

    2. I used to teach a drafting course and I had one student whose drawing instruments just happened to be in his car which, coincidentally, was broken into just before an exam.

      I was prepared for that sort of thing, even though, when I announced the exams, I told the students that they had to take some of their drafting gear with them. Inevitably, someone would forget something and I just happened to have a full kit in my office and I took it with me for that reason.

      I guess, by right, I should have let the kid hang and take his chances and, no, I wasn't going to let him borrow something from a fellow student after the exam started. However, if I'd done that, I would have quickly found myself in the department head's office for having deprived that student of his success.

      In industry, if something like that happens, one will have to take a chance on what happens but also bear the consequences if something goes wrong. It's called responsibility, something which used to be expected of students at one time.

  10. We did exactly what the tea-partying syllabus said we would do.

  11. We expected you to be able to add and subtract integers without a calculator, and deducted points when you could not.

    We also refused to hear arguments about how this was "not a math class"

  12. We expected you to be able to add and subtract integers without a calculator, and deducted points when you could not.

    We also refused to hear arguments about how this was "not a math class"

    1. We also deducted points for not showing how you got your answers. Telling us that "it's on the calculator" doesn't mean anything. Maybe we should be giving diplomas and degrees to your fancy machines instead of you. Evidently, they know the course material better than you do.