Monday, February 25, 2008

Someone Needs a Hug. But Compound Rules Forbid It: "No Hugging, No Learning, No Running By the Pool."

  • When you emailed me after final grades were posted, I thought maybe you were writing to thank me for bumping you up to a C when you really deserved a D. Instead, you were asking me to meet you at the Waffle House at 7 am to pick up your late paper--you know, the one I told you I wouldn’t accept after the last day of classes? I know now that I was wrong. I should not only have met you, but bought you breakfast as well.

  • When you first informed me that you made A’s in your high school English classes, I thought you were merely offering unnecessary information--just like you always do in your essays. Six paragraphs of unnecessary information. And whoo, how hard it was not to laugh when you informed me that English courses are only required so that students can up their GPAs because English was a “bird course!” Now I realize that I should have just given you an A in my class, since, of course, your high school grades should always be transferred over to every single class you take thereafter, and every other English teacher on campus was easy.

  • You made me want to sing Cake’s “Never There.” You turned in three essays and claimed the fourth was Lost in Cyberspace (insert dramatic theme music). You swore that the last one was stolen by a drunken roommate, and you couldn‘t find your other copies because your jump drive melted when you “accidentally” left it on the stove. When you told me that I was required to give you an A because you had to keep your scholarship, I laughed at you, but inside my head I was screaming, “How the hell did you get a scholarship to begin with?!” I now realize that I should have commiserated with you about how hard it is to keep funding, then given you your A.

  • So you plagiarized. As you so tearfully informed me, who hasn’t? Statistics say 115% of people do it, and if everyone does it, it’s ok. And after all, your mom said it was ok too. Honestly. I really do feel bad about what I did to you. You see, I didn’t recognize the skill and intelligence it takes to cut, copy, and paste from the first website that comes up on Google when you input “William Shakespeare -- My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun.” I should have appreciated your explanation that you were providing career training by testing my ability to catch you (Thanks!). I also didn’t realize that reporting you for plagiarism was unfair because you seriously didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do that, I mean, you are only a college sophomore, and, like, it really hurt your self esteem and stuff. I now realize that you having a high self esteem is much more important than you having ethics, and from here on out I’ll never turn students in for "cheating" again.

  • You pitched a bitch at least once a week in my class. You informed me that your brother, who teaches AP English, looked over your paper and said it was “cool,” including that three paragraph conglomeration of definitions from the Webster’s dictionary and your opening statement that “Everybody hates feminists.” You rolled your eyes at every statement I made, and when I was saying nonsense like “This is how you cite a journal article in MLA format,” who can blame you? You told me--in front of everybody--that all of the assignments were just busy work that I made up so I could feel more like a “real” teacher, and that my lectures were “boring” and “wrong.” And you know, in retrospect, I think I agree. Asking you to write a research paper in a composition class? Telling you about the argumentative fallacies and asking you to learn complicated terms like “comma splice”? What was I thinking? (See, I did learn something from your habit of stringing 25 rhetorical questions together in the intro!) I now realize that, when you wanted to segue masterfully from the rhetorical strategies of an essay on the Milgram experiment to your love for The Notebook and that hottie, whosit, "Ryan Gossett Jr.," I should have remembered that students already know how they will learn best, and that you were simply trying to provide quality educational discussion to your classmates. As you informed me nearly every day, you and the state were paying my salary, so I was a public servant. That meant that I should have been more in tune with your needs. I now know that my standards mean nothing, and that proper procedure is to tune my expectations to your desires for an easy course.

  • And to all of you who, last semester, decided to shout over me for the entire class period that Tuesday, no matter how many times and ways I tried to professionally get you back on track? I’m sorry for my assumption that anything I had to say might possibly be important to you. Next time, I’ll just calmly sit there and smile while you discuss your weekends and your asinine (I mean, totally awesome) frat party. As long as you ignore the Thorazine and Valium I’ll be eating like M & Ms, we’ll be cool.