Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You've Got to be Kidding Me...

After baking all day for the guy who took Timothy, I sat down to read through my student's papers, for they'll be workshopping tomorrow. I thought I'd get a crappy one or two in each class, something they could learn from, and at least one good one that they could sort of emulate.


I'd expected some issues but really? Two people out of seven have semi-decent introductions and thesis statements. Three or four don't have thesis statements at all. None had actual discussions with the texts they were working from -- part of the actual assignment. (simply citing from them is not having a discussion with the texts...) Instead, they all focused on the last part, the easy part. They all told me how they'd like the class run.

And, lo and behold, they'd like discussion, games, Power Points, etc. And those text books are really crappy (a small part of what one of the authors said). The end.

So, three to four papers out of twenty five students in each class...Chances are nobody in either class actually followed my directions, then. Not even in terms of grammar -- the only grammar I actually got to show them (for which I was chastised after by [useless boss]) was run ons and fragments. Of which most workshop papers still had issues. Lovely. Not to mention the fact that almost all of them have places where they haven't explained something even partially. Some didn't explain anything at all -- no wonder the paper is two and a half pages instead of 4-5.

On top of that, most have issues I cover when I'm teaching intro courses like, hey, probably have to write out numbers when you're in COMPOSITION. Or maybe, just maybe, your paper shouldn't be riddled with cliches.

I'd expect not to have to tell students that who had actually passed the intro course, though. Or, worse, who had actually taken the "get out of intro free" test and passed. If you are in my course, the second composition course, that means you either passed the first one somehow, you tested into it, or you took AP/dual credit in high school. Now I've taught in high schools before, so I know they have laughable standards, but really? Fucking really?

Now, I'm contemplating what I'll say tomorrow.
"None of these papers would pass."
"I can't believe the crap you guys turned in."
"No cookies for you, fuckers. Anybody venture to guess why?"
"You idiots just earned yourself a review day. Thursday I'll be telling you, in great detail, why you can't do this shit in college and why I expected you to know that already."

None of these, of course. Couldn't make the fucking snowflakes unhappy, now could we? Not to mention there's no room in [useless boss]'s syllabus for a review day. Just like there wasn't any time allotted to actually teaching them how to write argument papers. No, Thursday I'm to start the next essay.

"They should know it already" my ass.


  1. These 2 quotes exemplify exactly what I encountered at Safety School U:

    And, lo and behold, they'd like discussion, games, Power Points, etc. And those text books are really crappy (a small part of what one of the authors said). The end.


    "They should know it already" my ass.

    That's it right there. Admins in denial and students who want college to be kindergarten.

    Early in my career I actually made a game for an exam review session. All they did was bitch about it! And the same 5 people knew all the answers anyway. The others either gossiped, made fun of their classmates, napped, or scribbled notes furiously into their notebooks. The notes should have already been in there, dufus!

    Needless to say, lesson learned on my part.

  2. Drop a set and give them zeros for the assignment.

    I tell my similarly stupid students, if you don't follow APA format, then you get a zero. What do you know? A quarter did not follow directions and, thus, did not get credit.

    Next assignment? They all followed APA format.

    How about that, folks? Set standards. Enforce the rules. Stop whining about shitty administrators.

  3. I feel for you, but don't be so quick to dismiss the possibility of telling them that none of these papers would pass. Sometimes scaring them with the truth is the only way to get results.

  4. texpat, you clearly have never worked at place like Safety School U.

    My students would keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again. Because, you know, I'm just mean, which is why I kept grading them harshly. It had nothing to do with the work was done WRONG (or just done poorly).

    And who did the admin say was to blame? Not the students. Because OBVIOUSLY if they ALL (or even 5) do it wrong, then *I* was just a bad teacher. Naughty, naughty me trying to teach what it is that was assessed.

  5. I think you only have one option. The review session is a must.

    It's a pain in the ass, but they have to learn it. You have to emphasize that no matter what job they do, what major they claim, they HAVE to learn to write. Start from the beginning and see if you can catch up to Useless Prof's syllabus in the next few weeks.

    Also, the idiot students who finally see the forest for the trees will realize that you're really valuable. Failing them to get their attention will only make them despair and snowflake-up on you.

  6. Ditto textpat76 Give them zeros for the assignment. Set standards. Enforce the rules. Stop whining about shitty administrators.

  7. Midwest May, I feel you. I have to follow a syllabus I can't change either, and it blows, especially when something like this comes up. I just sneak in what I can.

    Rough drafts always suck, so I usually award just a small amount of points, and let them sink or swim on the final draft. The good students do good, the bad do bad, and it seems like I can't do anything to change that.

    This batch I just graded is particularly shitty, though. Some days I just don't know.

  8. Have the review session. If anyone says anything ill of it, show them that they don't "know it already." In your syllabus, put a statement that you reserve the right to make changes, in the event of unanticipated circumstances. (As an astronomy prof, I hate to think of how many times I've been yelled at because of bad weather.)


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