Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Where Someone is [Surprise!] Also Cheesed Off About Those Freshmen

Ah yes [gasp], the freshmen. It’s only week four of the new quarter and—like your prompt stated—I’ve been wanting to tear my eyes out (and occasionally my students’ eyes, or some combination of both) since week one. No, my desire to yank out eyeballs isn’t due to some past “King Lear” trauma, nor is it representative of anxiety over my lack of preparedness. Rather, the thought of reading just one more English 101 essay has driven me slightly up the wall [grimace].

I can’t take it anymore! Maybe this is just another one of my quirky eccentricities, but if I assign work, I expect it to be done as per instructions. For instance, I asked the students to read a particular article (on declining summer camp attendance) and then summarize the argument. One student turned in a page long, fictional account of camp life—automatic “F.” She was pretty cheesed off at me [gulp]. Granted, she DID inform me on the first day of class that because she’s a “good” writer she doesn’t have to follow the rules. Hmmm… maybe I need to lower my expectations. Wait, it gets better.

This is an e-mail I received from another student regarding the same assignment:
“We want to know if we have to do the exercises in the book it was on the slyabus but in class u didnt metion it and it was alot of extra work. and we also want to know what exercises we have to do. Reading the slyubus we think we have to do exercise 1 on pg 13 and exercise 2 on pg 38 if you could please email me asap that would be great because we dont want to do all that work if it isnt required for next class. Thanks.”

And my reply:
“If work is on the syllabus, it is required. I will only discuss assignments listed on the syllabus if I feel they need a greater degree of explanation. You are correct about the assignment itself: complete exercise 1 on p. 13, and exercise 2 on p. 38. Also: I realize that for many people, e-mail represents a form of casual communication. However (as clearly stated on the syllabus), communications directed towards professors--including myself--need to be grammatical, include a proper salutation, and show correct capitalization and spelling. To not do so is inappropriate and disrespectful.”

I must say, my “evil professor” alter-ego cackled with glee as I hit the send button on that one [sob]. Oh well, back to grading reading journals [sigh].