Guy named Arnold, who spent nearly the whole class trying to turn students against me as if I were some kind of evil oppressor instead of just a normal writing teacher. It was truly like a nightmare. I was very young and insecure at the time, and it confuses me to this day why Arnold saw my methods as somehow oppressive. Luckily, despite a small following, Arnold proved to be too unsteady and unstable to really lead the revolt he seemed to have in his head.He didn't finish.
Jeez Louise, where to get started with this one. This one needs sub-categories, like the Oscars: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, etc.
Agreed. Strictly speaking, I probably don't even remember the worst student ever, because they were so bad at studenting they probably never even showed up, or dropped after one class. Some better categories:- Most annoying (in class)- Most annoying (out of class)- Thickest- Worst social skills- Worst odor- Rabble rouser- Most pretentiousOk, I admit that some students might be nominated for multiple categories, but I don't think one student wins them all.
Most egregious waste of resources: the one who I took to Kitt Peak National Observatory who became my first grad student ever to refuse a research assignment, because it didn't have enough "physics." It was a study of the research productivity of astronomical telescopes, which I've heard are used for studying astrophysics. (It subsequently got over 100 citations.)Runner up to most egregious waste or resources, with an honorable mention for most stupid-looking ignorant grin: the grad student who wasted everyone's time with a barrage of off-topic questions, and who produced no research result whatsoever, not even a wrong one.Most academically unprepared for college: Tie, to the two student athletes who wouldn't read parts of the syllabus aloud back to me, because they couldn't read.Most aggressive, in an inappropriately stupid manner: the guy who tried to argue absolutely EVERYTHING with me, including how Earth is round and we can't see through it. I eventually hauled off and screamed, "Will you GET A GIRLFRIEND or ANYTHING to take the inappropriate aggressive edge OFF your personality?!?" It worked, and amazingly, he didn't go yammering to the dean.Most terrifying teacher-in-training: the one who led my first mass revolt, to which as always, the higher-ups collapsed like a house of cards.Most idiotic liar: the one who told me he didn't come to class because he had car trouble, just after he'd had me sign a form that listed his address as right across the street. Most and most diverse number of sleazy attempts to get through class by doing seeming everything, except coming to class, doing the homework, and passing the exams.More later, since I've got 10^6 of them. Notice how I haven't even gotten to the Computer Engineering major who fucked a sheep.
> Most pretentiousI'll put up with that, to a remarkable degree, and also even with "Worst social skills," if they can also present evidence for genuine thought or talent or even aptitude. But then, we've all also dealt with IT.
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not sure about the worst, but the one I most actively disliked was a smarmy little brown-nose reactionary. Either home-schooled or Xtain-schooled. Dressed like a little preppy, glad-handed everyone and turned every discussion into a rant about Unions (as if he'd ever worked a day in his life.) Loves telling every professor how great class was (this is the best class I've ever taken!) he sounds like some 1920s guide to being a good salesman. He got a good grade in my class because he earned it, but I will be relieved when he graduates. He'll probably end up at some RW "think-tank" trying to make life worse for people who are not rich and white.
I have two who are tied.1) Second-semester writing student who didn't understand the assignments but refused to ask questions about them, refused to come to office hours to get help, refused to revise when I offered the chance, refused to use class time productively. Yelled at me in front of all the other TAs about how it was my fault she was failing my class because I was a terrible teacher. Went to my chair (who laughed her out of her office).2) Online literature student. Plagiarized the first two assignments, then claimed that he'd gotten someone else to do his work for him because he was in Thailand or the Philippines for the first couple weeks of class and didn't have reliable internet. So he got reprimanded on two counts--letting someone else have access to his account and cheating. Did mediocre work for the next few weeks, then plagiarized again (with that weird thing they do where they run it through some sort of filter that changes key words so Turn It In doesn't pick up the plagiarism. Luckily, I'm smarter than Turn It In and know how to use Google). He failed my class right there and was placed on academic probation for the remainder of his time at the university.
BTW, if anyone knows where that filter thing is, I'd love to know. I know he didn't go through with a thesaurus and change words himself. I'm betting there's a service online that lets you copy-paste a paper in and runs some sort of (crappy) algorithm to change words for you. Either that or he ran it through Google Translate a couple of times.
Mine would have to be a kid who started a classroom revolt over my "favoritism," because I was letting one student take more time on the quizzes. The extra time was a mandated ADA accommodation.
This reminds me of a section in your book where students are complaining about favoritism because the protagonist is forced by the dean to ignore plagiarism. :)
Oh, man. The thing is, you're not allowed to say anything, which of course makes sense. You don't want to announce HEY THIS STUDENT HAS AN INVISIBLE DISABILITY to all the student's classmates. And the disabilities office wants the student to participate in everything so they wouldn't let me give the 150% timed quizzes outside of class. I had to give them extra time in class, I couldn't explain to the other students why this was, and I couldn't change the structure of the class because doing that after I'd already passed out the syllabus would've set off another avalanche of complaints. That was a horrible semester.
Well, your ADA office couldn't have identified your 150% time student more plainly if they'd hung a big "A" around the student's neck.At my joint, they assume the horse is pretty much out of the barn, so the "extra time" students (some are 150%, some 200%, some no limit at all) take their exams & quizzes in other rooms, same as the "non-distracting environment" students et al. It's none of the other students' business the exact nature of the accommodations, but to pretend that the extra timers can sit in the same classroom and not escape the notice of the rest of the class is just naive.
How about morally worst? Just about all my former undergraduates at Dartmouth would qualify. I am amazed how few of them became physicians or took up any of the helping professions. There were a few science Ph.D.s, but just about all of them now are either Wall-Street money shufflers or lawyers, none of whom are district attorneys.Runner up would be the guy from my orbital mechanics class at another university, who married one of my best students ever. The good one is tragically slowly going blind from a genetic disorder. The one from my orbital mechanics class screams at her when she can't see what he sees. The real kicker is that he now works for a major aerospace company, specializing in orbital mechanics, the basics of which were precisely what we covered in class. He does think of me: he tried to connect to my Linked-In page.Or how about the most egregious abuse of religion? Religion has been a vulnerable spot for us in the sciences since Galileo, and certainly since the Scopes trial. This one student kept leaving and coming back into the room disruptively, in order to pray. Serves me right for scheduling a class near sunset. Runner-up is the one who used Ascension Day to get out of a final exam.
Worst overall student who wasted his own time: the one who showed up for a four-day-a-week class every day without ever turning in a single assignment.He participated in discussions, and engaged in group work, but he never turned in a single assignment that he had to complete on his own. He was by far the easiest student I ever had, but likely the worst in terms of wasting his own time.Worst student who was a pain to me and everyone around him: the one who had no desire to be in college or to get along with anyone in the class. He routinely berated and criticized people, being a serious asshat to everyone he encountered. He refused to complete assignments and routinely told anyone who would listen how stupid the assignment was, how stupid the person he was speaking to was, and how stupid his professors were. He was an awful human being.If someone hasn't run him over in an empty parking lot by now, I will be surprised.Worst student who was well meaning: an early childhood Ed major, who couldn't spell her own name. She routinely misunderstood assignments, and clapped her hands in glee after almost every sentence I said, enthusiastically supporting me throughout the quarter. She was as sweet as ever, but I would wager there are walnuts with more brainpower than her. She also tried (and failed) to pass my college comp class three times.
I've had students like your first one! They show up regularly, they're always pleasant and smiling, they never do the homework, they accept their failing grade with good humor, and they show up next semester, happy to do it all over again. I just assumed they were high the whole semester (we have good pakololo on this island, or so I hear).
Give me some of that pakololo to deal with them yet another semesters. ;)
The one that stalked me and wound up in a federal penitentiary, on unrelated charges.
The one who argued with me for 40 minutes (stupid me for letting it happen) about a grade, where student rather loudly accused me of being 1) incompetent, 2) racist (the student was white?! as am I?!), 3)sexist, 4) picking PARTICULARLY on them, 5) hated by the the entire class.This grade was worth perhaps 5% of the final grade. When student commentary started to get repetitive (3rd time through), I asked student to leave. And again. And again. And again, stating I would have to call security if student did not leave right away. And again, picking up the phone. And again, starting to dial security. Upon which student left.Later that week, an anonymous death threat was left on my office phone. Campus security was not amused, took it seriously, and (I believe) had a little talk with the student. Who dropped.
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