Thursday, May 6, 2010

Re: Tuesday's Post

When students who don't follow directions realize that they've earned a zero on their essay, what I often hear is this: "That's not fair! I worked too hard on this essay to get a zero! I deserve some points for all that work!"

So, I've been trying to think of some comebacks that they can understand (although I realize that they will still be angry, hate me forever, and believe that I am "unmerciful"). Here's my best one so far:

--Do you think that a referee would listen to a player who said, after a touchdown had been called back because of an offensive foul, "But I ran too hard not to get the points!!"

Got a great one to add to my list?


Jonathan G. Reinhardt said...

I've been laughing at your rants... far too familiar.

I have the exact same problem... that is, students who skip every occasion where I've explained in exact detail how they can earn an A and then complain they didn't know that half-@$$ing it wouldn't result in a passing grade. Because, you know, they turned everything in. I even had one student who put 100s at the end of his essays in case I was too stupid to notice that it wasn't me who'd put them there.

My comeback to "You're unmerciful" would've been, "No, I'm merciless. Learn the damn difference."

Generally, I try to tie every step of the research process to "real-life" skills that are useful for their careers--not plagiarizing is like not passing off your colleagues' work as your own, writing persuasively is great practice for business proposals and sales, citing primary sources is like working with stock figures when you're a Wall Street trader instead of relying on what your boss told you about the stocks (textbooks) or what you heard Steve Jobs say once at a presentation (newspaper articles) or what you heard that guy Phil say at the bar the other day when he was playing darts with that drunk guy (Wikipedia). And so on. So when this I-didn't-remember-to-follow-directions thing starts happening, I ask them what would happen if at their job they got a task and their manager explained it and they weren't really listening and then they didn't bother to go and ask even though the manager offered to help and then the deadline for the task comes and what they've done is not what the manager asked for. The manager'd get mad, they invariably say. To which I answer, No, you'd get fired. F for fired. Like on this paper. Sorry. Following directions is a basic life skill.

Needless to say, my supervisor doesn't like me handling these people very much. He slaps me on the back with a smile and then tells me to send them to their academic advisor in the future, with a little note saying they may need to take remedial first.

But I guess that doesn't fly at a Christian schools. Because Christianity isn't about following directions or anything...

Jonathan G. Reinhardt said...

Also, fellow Harding English alum Don McL. Jr. is apparently grading papers right now. His FB status tonight: "I've graded 6 final papers so far. 2 are plagiarized. Ironically enough, both papers discussed the novel "Passing"--something neither individual will be enjoying when they receive their grades in the mail."

Then: "Make that 3--and the third is taken from wikipedia. Wikipedia, really? Really?!"

So maybe this just means we're normal.

Ash said...

Gotta love entitlement mentality.