Thursday, February 2, 2006

Two Students To Watch Out For.

A History prof at a large university in a cold state sent this in. Looks like the ratings are back!

V is one of those students who clearly believes himself to be a rippling genius but who suggests -- with every passing semester -- that his head is thick with nonsense. In an upper-division historical methods course, for instance V waited until the 13th week (of a 14-week semester) to ask clarification on the difference between a "primary" and a "secondary source." This, I should point out, took place after we had spent an entire session on the subject early in the semester, and after the same question had been addressed by no fewer than three of the major texts used in the course. Oh, how grateful I am that he couldn't take any of my classes this semester. From now on, I must make a point of finding out his schedule far enough in advance that I can avoid him until he has safely graduated (God knows how) from this institution. If he appears in your classes, beware.

G is a genial right-winger whom I adore in spite of his grotesque political views. He's a really smart fellow and has taken a whole load of my classes, none of which seem to persuade him that the history of the United States is considerably more ambiguous than his Reaganesque triumphalism would lead him to believe. Clearly, my efforts to brainwash my students and bully them into endorsing my crabbed view of the world have failed. Nonetheless, G has a record of not completing courses, and I would warn other faculty about being too lenient on him. He's a good writer but gets very stressed out about school and spends lots of time at the movie theater or watching cable news, with which he is inexplicably entranced. Above all, he needs a professor who is willing to draw the line and not let him turn work in late. He now has two incompletes from me and shows no sign of finishing the work any time soon. Don't fall into the same trap!