Friday, May 25, 2007

Whingey Approaches the Record For Most Incredulous Readers. And We Love Him For It.

More often than not, when we post something that comes from an angry student, nobody believes it's a real post. Whingey's missive from yesterday certainly proved that theory to be true. Our mail skewed heavily to the "you must have made that shit up." But it's all real. And once again we decided not to edit it for grammar, not because we're meanies, but because we thought that presentation was part of what attracted us to the note in the first place. We often edit student work that comes in if it's got a handful of inconsequential errors in it that might deflect a reader. But Whingey's own style was part of what we loved.

A few of you believed it to be true, and we've cobbled together the comments below:

  • If I read your post correctly, your course consists of a two "short answer exams," a short essay, a medium essay, and the choice between another short essay or a final exam. Are you kidding me?! That's it?! THAT is what you are bitching about? As for your complaining that the 3000 word essay is due on a Monday instead of a Friday, here is why: if your professor assigned the paper to be due on a Friday, you would be complaining about not having the weekend to work on it, and how it should be due on a Monday instead.
  • I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for "Whingey." However, I can't help but feel a little responsible for it. I, as do many students I know, complain about a couple of things that Whingey has mentioned in his/her post. I don't like having a test two weeks before a final, and goodness knows I'm disappointed when I come to class expecting a lecture and the video bin is broken out. My friends and I bitch among ourselves about these things from time to time. There is a big difference between complaining to friends about a temporary frustration and a steamy wad of publicly self-righteous contempt. I mean really, Whingey, it must have taken a monumental effort to come up with all that, if you have such a problem with a 1,500 word essay. I offer my deepest apologies, and a pledge to be a little more careful, to all the professors who have ever experienced a Whingey of their own.
  • That you find an 11-week course with a two-hour lecture and tutorial each week insufficient time to "engage" yourself in discussion about the topic at hand is pretty ridiculous. Perhaps it's a problem because you don't listen? Quit whining and get to work. I hate to say it, but you're exactly the type of student the professors who post here hate. You have obviously not taken the time to think about your course. More than that, you want to be spoon fed knowledge on your own terms. If you don't mind telling me where you go to school and who your professor is, I'd like to send him or her flowers and a card as a sympathy gift.
  • Yesterday's "Whinge" post is beautiful. No, not for its rash sentiments, but for the delightful display of inattention and sloppiness with regard to spelling, punctuation, and grammar that reveal that this student's lack of intellectual development may have more to do with his/her general attitude and less with the quality of one (likely underpaid) lecturer. My own attention to these nitty-gritties is often criticized harshly by my students. "This isn't an English class," they cry. "But my computer has a spell-checker," they protest. As if reading and writing in their native language is an unfair and extravagant burden. But their consistent refusal to proofread their own work or accept feedback tells me plenty about their attitude toward learning and constructive criticism. Whingey complains that the lecturer doesn't put enough time and effort into course construction (especially during "movie" days. The horror!), but s/he can't be bothered to capitalize "i" or insert terminal punctuation here and there. It seems by this student's missive that no instructor who requires written analyses or exams to measure learning will pass muster. "What? You want me to learn *and* show you what I've learned? You've already stolen my weekend--what more do you want?" Ironically, this student wants the lecturer to tell the students what she thinks about the movie/lesson/text but finds it unacceptable that the students should be asked to develop their own thoughts on the subject. Expecting students to think and write with some average degree of critical thinking, creativity, and accuracy may make me a jerk. Go ahead -- write about my unreasonable grading and writing standards on the instructor evaluations. Better yet, make sure you write as incoherently as usual, so my supervisors and I can enjoy the irony. I'll just be here with my red pen.