Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's Only One Student Apology, But We're Grateful For It. We Will Alert You When We Get Another. For Now, We Will Bathe In This One.

Please know that there are students out here who agree with you, who hate the lazy, grade-grubbing, plagiarizing, Daddy-dialing little bastards who populate our classes.

We want to learn. We want to be good students. We want to be respected as intellectuals. Heck, we want to do good work and want you to like us. When all of those things happen your job is a little less hellish and our grade just might be shinier. And, in the process, we sometimes inadvertently get an education!

I apologize for the kids who plagiarize and then act like they don't know what that means. Isn't that an eight-grade vocabulary word? I apologize for the guy in the front row who asks pompous tangential questions in a painfully loud voice just to prove How Smart He Is to his peers. I apologize for the Little Grade Grubbers who ask why they got a 58 instead of a 90 on their exam, or the PreMed Grade Grubbers who gulp and sob over a 98. I especially apologize for the Beastly Grade Grubbers who call in Mommy, Daddy, the Dean, Daddy the Dean, or all of the above, in an attempt to prove to you, by a sheer display of Other Grown-Ups, that you're being So Unfair.

I can't really apologize for the kids who forget their pencils, their paper, or their pants, or who answer their cell phones during class, as this level of rudeness really is beyond my comprehension. I simply wish for your sakes that they disappear.

I apologize for department chairs who base your worth on the evaluations of bitter D students who just wish you'd inflate their grades a little more because "really, who does it hurt?" I apologize for the favoritism shown to professors who can't teach for crap but hand out A's (and evaluation-day candy) at the drop of a hat. I apologize for any persons in power who treat a university like a business and think that "the customer is always right" when in fact "the customer" is a spoiled dumbass who thinks that his tuition is seriously paying your salary.

But hey, all this apologizing isn't just because we, the ass-kissing students, want to empathize with you, our beloved professors. We're the self-centered know-it-all spawn of the baby boomers, after all - we apologize because the awful students are our problem too. When Johnny Moneybags the Third needs a two-week extension on his paper draft because his business-major self has had a stressful Greek Week at the frat, it hurts us all. Their 20-bullshit-excuses-per-week dilute the one situation per year that some of us really do need a break on. My idea throughout undergrad was to never EVER ask for an extension unless it was a ridiculous level of emergency, precisely because I figured that when I finally needed help, the professor would know it wasn't "just another excuse."

I eventually realized that most of my professors were not ogres with hearts of stone; they'd look at my past record and help me out if it seemed reasonable. And if they didn't, incredibly, the sun still managed to rise the next day.

Finally, I personally apologize for any time when I might have BEEN that student - emailing you about something I could have answered by looking at the syllabus, writing a grumpy evaluation because I wished I had done better in the class, or maybe asking an annoying question just because I wanted to prove to you that I was Listening, Attentive, and Smart. I hope you took off and bitched about me as you rightfully should have, and I hope that I have learned from my mistakes!