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Anonymous University Professor

November 27, 2012

I returned the papers yesterday and excused myself to return to the faculty office to get a cup of coffee. As I usually do, I stood outside the room to listen to the bitching about how the class was ruining their  GPA’s and how they’ll never take another one of my classes. That’s another lesson I’ve taught them: don’t get into losing battles. When I returned with my coffee, I asked if anyone had questions about his paper. One kid asked why she received a B rather than an A. I hadn’t read the paper, but I did notice that her paragraph indentation was not the prescribed distance from the margins. The style book (at one time) required five letter spaces for the indentation of paragraphs. The new edition requires a quarter inch instead. (I think). If I’m wrong, she’ll appear at my office whining about how I penalized her wrongly because she measured the proper distance, and it turned out to be a quarter inch.

Before she can talk to me, however, she’ll have to schedule an appointment. My appointment schedule is usually booked at least a week in advance, so she’ll have to wait another week to  whine about her grade. That is, if she remembers to come. Most students who make an appointment to see me don’t show up anyway. If she shows up next week, I’ll apologize and raise her grade to a B+.  Of course, she won’t be too happy with that because, like most other students, she’s obsessed with her grades. That’ll be another lesson that I will have taught her: complainers don’t ever get ahead.

Some students do make A’s in my classes, but not many. Butt-kissers don’t make A’s in my class. They’re the ones who sit in class in the front or in the rear of the  room and regurgitate exactly what I said the previous week. The ones in the front tend to grovel. The ones in the back tend to answer in a monotone with a pseudo-serious, expressionless face. Only the Chosen Few make A’s in my class. I don’t always choose them. The other teachers choose them. I listen to the gossip in the teachers’ lounge and follow the herd. If Johnny is deemed to be an intellectual lightweight by the majority of the graduate faculty, I grade him accordingly, no matter how good his performance may be. If Jenny is deemed to be brilliant and outstanding in every way by enough graduate faculty members, she’ll usually make an A in my class unless I don’t like the grad facs who are sponsoring her.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in praising the praiseworthy, but not many students who come through this department are worth a hoot to begin with.  I’ll probably have more to say about this later. I think I’ll close the door to my office and take a nap now.

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