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UProf Grades Term Papers

November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving is over. Back to the grind.

So here I am. I’m sitting at my desk, “grading” papers that have been sitting on my desk for two weeks. I’ve got about half an hour before class starts and I have thirty of these horrid five-page freshman travesties to grade. It’s really a waste of time. I assign the same topics every time I have to “teach” a freshman class so that I don’t have to do too much reading to be able to shoot their papers down for lack of content.  Maybe it’s a little unfair on my part, but these kids are here for an education. Part of my mission in life is to show them just how unfair life can be, especially when they throw themselves into an assignment, only to receive a C or a B. I’m sure that some of them are absolutely brilliant and deserve an A, but the way that they try to ingratiate themselves to me and butt-kiss their way into academia turns me off. For that, they get a lower grade.  That’s another lesson for them: stay close to the center of the pack, the center of mediocrity. Creative, brilliant people are doomed to a life of disappointment and unhappiness. Those who receive a B or a C in my class are usually just glad to pass my class and never see me again. Maybe that’s a third lesson that I am teaching: don’t run into brick walls. Avoid them. Best of all: avoid my class if you think that you’re brilliant. I can show you just how stupid you really are.

I assign the same topics every year. Most of these little monkeys have copied their work from the internet or from the only two books in the library that come close to addressing the assigned topic. The rest of the books are on the book shelf in my office. The library learned years ago not to ask for them back.The students who didn’t copy from those two books plagiarized the data from Wikipedia. It’ll take me about twenty minutes to thumb through them all and inscribe a “B” at the top, and touch my pen to every other page so that the student believes that I actually tried to read his “research”. One kid forgot to follow the style book rule. He forgot to number his pages. That’s a C for him. Another one attached a cover page. That’s one thing I hate: waste. Printing a cover page means that another tree must be felled. (Okay. It’s just one page, but those pages add up over the years). It’s bad enough that they’re  wasting five pages each. They shouldn’t waste yet another, especially after I advised them not to include a cover page.

Later: Finished.  What a waste of time. I could have gone to the bathroom and then gotten a cup of coffee, but instead, I wasted my  valuable time grading their papers. Class should have started five minutes ago. I have to walk half the length of the building to the elevator. That’ll kill another five minutes. It’ll take another two minutes for the elevator to get to the fourth floor and to the class room, by which time over half of the class will have left. What a shame. Most of them have skipped two classes already. My syllabus clearly states that three absences will lower their averages by one whole letter grade.

I don’t consider myself chronically late for class; I’m just controlling grade inflation.

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