Wednesday, March 13, 2013

i'm really feelin' frustrated

dear students that supply the material i grade for my paycheck,

i would like to thank you for opening my eyes to the reason that so many of my professors have dropped writing assignments from the syllabus only after we all submitted them. to be honest, i've been harboring a little petty grudge against quite a few of my professors who had us write reports with promises of comments that would show us the exact way to change our own personal styles of writing into forensic report style only to say two weeks later that the assignment would be dropped from the syllabus and the class would now be graded out of 90 instead of 100. i thought them lazy and irresponsible and a slew of other adjectives that made them unfit to teach. but now i understand that they were just trying to save themselves. like a person escaping an abusive relationship, they were finally willing to say that they had had enough and that they deserve so much better. and i applaud their strength and self-preservation. i'm a little jealous that i cannot do the same.

students, i would like to thank you for cementing in my mind forever the importance of writing. you have shown me that the ability to write well is a gift not to be taken for granted. you taught me that knowledge of basic grammar can not only save my academic and professional careers, but also my life. because i know i, for one, would love nothing more than to strangle both you and myself after getting halfway through some of your papers. i understand that for a lot of you, english is not your first language, so i am willing to overlook the your/you're confusion and the use of the wrong "its" that grates on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. but there are some things that i just cannot and will not overlook. to the student that thought not using the first person in a paper meant to take out all sentence subjects completely, i hope your favorite brand of cereal gets discontinued. to the student that put together a list of random nouns that lasted for two lines and ended it with a period, as if it was some sort of new-age sentence, i hope every time you think you find a parking spot on campus, it turns out that the space is occupied by a car pulled in a little too far. and to the student that refuses to believe in any form of agreement - subject-verb, tense, etc - and puts quotes around half of the paper without actually quoting anything, i hope a monkey claws out your eyes.

but above all, i would like to thank you for teaching me that, no matter how old you get, grad student or not, you are never too old to be completely lazy and moronic and underestimate the intelligence of everyone around you. i confess, i never read the slides of the professor i work with. but that didn't stop me from noticing that nine out seventeen students copied his slides word for word. i'm not sure if it was the fact that every single one of you had the same bullet pointed list, in the same order, with the same typos, and the same extra spaces added in that tipped me off or the fact that you all decided to ignore what the assignment wanted and give me the exact same answers to questions nobody asked, but somehow, i figured it out. and by the way, i don't know how many times the professor and i have to repeat it, but bullet points are not allowed.

and to the students that write papers that flow, that know the difference between their, there, and they're, that answer the questions asked and fill their papers with insightful findings and helpful conclusions, i would like to thank you for being the light in an otherwise dreary existence. you are the voice of reason that keeps me from jumping out of my windows. you are the ones that help me make it through.

sincerely,
your much abused TA

P.S. a lot of you start every sentence with "this examiner," and it took me forever to pinpoint exactly which memory that was tugging at. i finally figured out that it was somehow causing memories of cadet kelly (the disney channel movie) to resurface. this TA now wishes that she could send half of you to some form of literary boot camp where someone will call you a maggot to humiliate you into writing better.

*Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You) - Shania Twain

3 comments:

  1. The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me just as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, however I actually thought you would have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.



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  2. anonymous hippopotamusMarch 14, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    wooooow!! i think anonymous must be one of the students who "puts quotes around half of the paper without actually quoting anything"

    i happened to like the post...found it very funny.

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  3. yeah i told you about how the spam went from being flattering and suck upish to mean. mostly it's that i need to check my spelling because my post is "rife with spelling errors" so this is new. the spam filter has also started sucking a bit at catching them. (i'm only leaving this one so that your comment doesn't sound random.) i may have to either stop anonymous commenters or put a captcha and i hate when blogs do either of those. ble5.

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