Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Answer is No. Dr. Amelia Saves Some Time. A Big Thirsty For the Ages.

Dear Dr. Amelia,

  • I'm taking my cat to the vet. Can I take the quiz late?
  • I didn't do my best on the paper. Can I re-write it?
  • My club is selling bottled widgets. Would you like to buy one?
  • I'm too busy to come to a team meeting. Can you catch me up on what happened next week?
  • Are our papers that we handed in last class graded yet?
  • I'm leaving early for Fall Break. Can I take the quiz when I get back?
  • Can I just read the parts of the book that I need to, to answer the question?
  • Can I just write "According to research,"
  • I have a group meeting for another class. Can I leave early?
  • My club soccer team made the playoffs. Can I miss class on Friday afternoon?
  • If I send you my draft at 11 Monday night, can you give me feedback so I can turn it in at 8 a.m. Tuesday?
  • Can I just send you my file in whatever crazy file format I happen to have for text on my computer?
  • Can I just bend up the corners instead of stapling my paper? (The answer to that - Hells no!)
  • If I don't put my name on the quiz, will you figure out it was me?
  • If I substitute in some synonyms in the Wikipedia article I'm copying, can I then call that my own work?

Q: What, dear miserians, would you like to say no to today?


  1. Don't you think it would be bad business to give your department more money to hire some more full-time faculty to help carry the class and service loads in the mere hope that it would lead to your department's research output climbing up from the toilet it's been in for a few years?

  2. What a great question! I say NO to all except the second (not my best work), to which I reply, "Sadly, it probably is your best and it's worth an F."

    1. Urban academic legend:
      Prof sets paper. Students hand in. Prof tells them all, "Is this the best you can do?" in a slightly disappointed tone. Class concedes that maybe they could do better. Prof gives them a rewrite. "Is this the best you can do?" "No, I guess maybe that's not our absolute best." One more round. "Is this the best you can do?" Students, fed up, stand on their dignity and say "Yes, that's the best we can do." Prof announces that this is good, and that this time he will actually read the papers.

    2. We should have an academic urban legend thread. I've got two or three more in that vein that everyone should know.

    3. I did just glance at some lab reports and ask for them to be rewritten. Without reading I could see that they were missing important pieces. I don't have time to grade work that bad.

    4. This was supposed to have been done by Henry Kissinger, before he went to work for Nixon, when he was still teaching at Georgetown---or was it Harvard?

  3. Will you tell us exactly what we need to memorize for the test and what we can ignore?

    If we as a class put together a unanimous petition, will you drop the exam grades for the last test, that we all failed?

    Will you bring us chocolate chip cookies (instead of those nasty cheap store-bought sugar cookies that all the other profs bring, oh, and don't forget white chocolate chip for the chocolate-allergic, and gluten-free for the Celiac folks, and oh, yes, vegan cookies for the vegans) for the last day of classes?

    Will you drop the academic integrity violation charges for when I forged the doctor's notes? I just didn't want to have my grade lowered for absences.

    Will you let us choose the movie we'll watch (instead of having a regular class) on the the last day of classes?

  4. Can I have extra credit (to make up for the huge assignment I didn't bother to do)?

    Can I email you my paper so you can proofread it before I turn it in? (FUCK. NO.)

  5. It's halfway through the semester, and, unlike the other 19 students in the class, I still don't understand the two semester-long projects we've been working on, nor can I follow the written directions for completing intermediate stages thereof with anything approaching comprehension or success. Oh, and I've missed about half the class meeting due to assorted vaguely-described "emergencies." I can still get an A, right? [actually, the question should be "do I have any hope of passing," to which the answer is almost certainly "no," too, but, fortunately for the sake of this thirsty, you asked the question to which the answer is an unqualified "no"].

    You can maintain the same quality of instruction if we add another half-dozen or so students to each of your 4 sections, right?

  6. Can I have an appointment in the middle of your scheduled office hours?

    Will you help me research which drug I tried to OD on 15 years ago? It was an expired prescription for a tropical disease that my cousin, a veteran, had been given years before.

    Do you have any appointments available on the weekends?

    Will you tell me what this vocabulary term means on the exam I'm taking?

    I was absent last time and came in late today. Will you slow down and answer all my questions about the basic concepts?

    1. "Do you have any appointments available on the weekends?"

      Once, when I was 19 years old and serving in the U.S. Navy, I will confess to having been naive enough to have asked this at the base dental clinic, They replied by asking me if I was drunk.

  7. I want to work at the class's beer bash to raise money for our graduation party. It'll be during our class time, so can I have my exam back now?

    Will you do an example on every case in the last chapter of the book instead of having us read through the material and figure it out for ourselves?

    Can my boyfriend sit in on your lecture?

    Can you tell us what'll be on the exam?

    Could you provide us with the answers to the old exams you put on reserve in the library?

    Could you make the solution manual of the textbook available for us to look at?

    I have to go play soccer. Can I hand in my assignment tomorrow?

  8. Can you tell me what my grade is at this point? (No, scores are posted and the syllabus says how much different things count.)

  9. Can you tell me why the online gradebook says I have a 64 when the assignment list says I have a 95? (NO, the stupid new gradebook is STILL broken)

    Can I turn in this assignment from the first week of school for full credit (7 weeks later)? (NO, and I won't grade it for partial credit either!)

    1. I turn all the grade calculating stuff off in blahboard and use Excel for the real math. Be careful: if you "hide" a calculated column in the gradebook, it becomes invisible to you but students can still see it. If you can't simply delete the column, then you must set its options specifically to exclude it from the students' view.

    2. We actually don't use blahboard, we use something else. It was updated about a week before school started (with no testing of the update at all, of course). They still haven't figured out how to fix this issue...

  10. Stu Dont: I didn't do my best on the paper. Can I re-write it?

    me: Yes. In fact, I encourage it.

    [time elapses]

    Stu: Here's my paper you told me I could rewrite.

    me: Wonderful! I'm sure you improved it and learned much in the process.

    Stu: Aren't you going to take it from me?

    me: No.

  11. First day of the new quarter, four hour block classes.
    "Are we going to get out early?"
    -Because I get paid to teach you for 4 hours, and I value my job security a lot more than your free time.

  12. 20 minutes into midterm. Tonyflake's phone vibrates in pocket, takes it out to answer it. Looks at me with puppy dog eyes, "But it's my mother!"

  13. I'm sick today. Is it OK for my roommate to come take my quiz for me?