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Anonymous University Professor: Grading These College Papers

December 4, 2012

This is the last week of classes. I finally returned one batch of papers to my freshman class. Soon, I’ll have  my senior undergraduates/graduate students’ papers to grade. Luckily, there are only twenty-one students in that class, and I can count on five of the undergrads turning in their papers late. For each day that the paper is late, the paper is docked one grade point. Assuming that the student writes a perfect paper, if he’s one day late, he’ll receive a B.  He’d have received an A, but since his paper will be late, the highest grade he’ll receive will be a B.  Nobody writes a perfect paper in my classes anyway (except for the butt kissers), so my conscience is clear concerning the less fortunate.  The best anyone can hope for is a B, so that late paper receives a C. Of course, I touch my pen to the paper, make light lines under certain phrases, and write cryptic notes at the bottom. My favorite is “This seems a bit vague. Could you be more specific?”  Of course, the student has no idea what I am talking about because the comment is written at the bottom of the page and references nothing within the paper.

I get a kick out of the graduate students’ bullsh*t. Some send me emails telling me that they cannot attend the last day of class. Then they tell me that they’ll just push their papers under my door. They learn pretty quickly that they can’t just slip it under my door. I got sick of that nonsense years ago, so I installed a rubber door sweep on the inside of my door that makes it impossible for anyone to  slip his drivel under my door. If he attaches it to my door with tape, I just tell him that I didn’t receive the paper. It probably fell off. It comes as a shock when Little Miss Mimsey receives a D for a final grade (if I feel generous).

Then there are the smart ones who go to the department secretary to try to put my paper in my mail box. That doesn’t work either. Years ago, the department secretary (who ran off after one semester) decided to verify every teacher’s public and private email address. I didn’t put my name or email address on the paper that was circulated among the teachers because the school provides each teacher with a school email address. All she had to do was to look in the faculty directory for my official university email address. Nobody needs to know my private email address.

Not even my wife.

Once, the new secretary decided to spiff things up a bit, so she ordered nice plastic name plates for the teachers’ cubbyhole mail boxes. She used the email memorandum as a guide to the My refusal to put my name and email addresses on the paper resulted in the secretary’s failure to order a new name plate for my mailbox, so I didn’t get a mailbox that term. Consequently, I didn’t get any notifications of  committee meetings. I didn’t get notifications of any sort. That was a good thing. Then ,when I complained that I wasn’t getting any communication from the department chair, there was an investigation. TA DA! Somebody figured out that I had no mailbox. Rather than pry off everyone’s name plate from half of the cubbyholes to accommodate my new mail box. I told the secretary to just assign me a box on the other side of the mail room. The only available cubbyhole was located way at the top where nobody can reach, much less see. Now, when a student tries to deliver a paper to my faculty mailbox, he’s directed to a box that bears no name in a place where it looks as though nothing is ever delivered. Result: no student papers are left in my faculty mail box.

Since graduate assistants and teachers’ assistants are allowed to eat in the teachers’ cafeteria, I avoid the cafeteria during the last week of the semester. That thwarts the ambushes.

I’ve got to work on a final exam for another horrible undergraduate class. It’s almost lunch time. Maybe I’ll lock my door, pull down the shades, and take a nap on the couch.

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