- To Worried Wilbur, whose concern for his grades leads him to ask "Can I pull a C in class?" as I'm collecting quizzes but has never yet managed to lead him to my office door for a real conversation about his performance, grades, and future: Your desperate email begins by addressing me as "Mr," a perfectly innocent slip that I could let pass except that I don't want to. You've come crawling at the end of the semester, desperate for an eleventh-hour gesture of unearned mercy, and to my mind that level of desperation calls for some serious ass-kissing. So let's "Dr" it up, shall we? You got a D on the midterm, the second-lowest score in the class. You turned in only half of the short written assignments, managed to lay claim to only 19 of the 70 quiz points available over the course of the semester, and stopped attending class altogether three weeks ago. Having not done the work and not made any effort to seek my assistance, you email me, 16 weeks into the semester, to ask if you can still turn in your assignments (even though some of them are nearly three months late), take make-up quizzes, and perform extra credit work. I'll save you a trip: the boat has done sailed, and you've been left standing on the F dock. Irresponsible banks and carmakers get bailouts, slacker students don't.
- To Ballsy Brenda, who sent to me--a week after our last class meeting--all of the assignments she had failed to turn in on time: Let me get this straight. You did only the second half of the first assignment and the first half of the second assignment? And you did the third assignment on the wrong text? And you thnk I should give you partial credit for all this partially completed work, even though the deadlines were weeks ago? Do you realize that the first assignment was due in September? How much credit should I give to half an assignment turned in nine and a half weeks late? (I use the rhetoric of "giving" rather than "earning" because, let's face it, your half-assed, slacker efforts haven't earned you a damn thing.) I'll make you a deal: I won't bother to read this hopelessly late work, and you'll accept with grateful heart and tearful eye the 4 ¾ points (out of a possible 100) I'm writing next your name in my gradebook.
- To Dumbass Dick, who stated rather than asked, "You're offering opportunities for extra credit, right?": Listen carefully Grasshopper, because I'll only say this once: In my class, there is only credit; there is no "extra."
- To the Six Kings and Queens of Slackertude, who couldn't manage, over the course of 16 weeks, to complete an assignment that required nothing more than a simple Google search and seven minutes of partial concentration: You are all pathetic. I could not design an easier assignment. I'm guessing that if I just gave you points, you couldn't manage to hold out your hands to take them. The assignment asked you to do what you already do all day, every day with your friends: surf the web and write a short note about what you saw there. While you're posting and blogging and twittering away to your friends, you might have managed to complete the assignment and
learn a little something you didn't know before. But you preferred to spend your internet time on activities that taught you nothing and that earn you no points towards your degree. And to the two of you who have emailed me asking for more time: check your Facebook walls for my very special "sucks to be you" reply.