Monday, November 29, 2010

Dude, are you TRYING to shoot yourself in the foot?

Dear Ostrich Student,

Sticking your head in the sand so you can't see the deadlines DOESN'T MAKE THEM GO AWAY. The fact that you failed my class last spring, after submitting none of the three papers and not turning up for the final, should have given you a clue that this isn't a successful strategy. So why -- WHY -- have you vanished, nowhere to be seen, on your assigned presentation date for the second semester running?

And what was up with the way you conspicuously failed to hand in the second paper, anyway? First you e-mailed me two days after it was due to ask if you could submit it electronically. Grudgingly, I said OK even though I hate it when students don't give me a hard copy, since it was over the weekend and the late penalty would continue to accrue until you handed it in. Come Monday, you hadn't sent me anything. I asked you about it. You said, "Oh, I thought it would be too late to hand it in." I pointed out that, as the syllabus indicates, you can still get some credit for a five-day-late paper if the grade without the late penalty would have been a C+ or higher. You said OK, you would turn it in immediately. Nada.

Work with me, for God's sake. I want you to get your C- and go away. The presentations are super-informal. If you had shown up and done a half-assed job, you would still have earned partial credit for it. If you show up for the final and make a reasonable attempt to answer the questions, you'll probably earn some credit. But if you pull another disappearing act, I don't have any choice but to flunk you.


Monday, November 15, 2010


This has been a very long and stressful week (and yes, I KNOW it is only Monday; that's the point). But, thanks to a chain of events that I would rather not have had to deal with today, I do have a fancy new printer. With a scanner.

Thus, in lieu of an actual post, have some sketches from the revenge tragedy seminar I took in grad school. (This is the sort of thing that passes for note-taking with me, and I kind of wish I had taken actual notes in that class, but oh well.)

Click to enlarge and behold the Stick-Hamlet in its full glory.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

With me grading papers, I have a pet peeve.

AUUGHHH. What is UP with all the unnecessarily roundabout constructions? And why are some students apparently allergic to the word "because"?

"Being that I'm wearing the pope hat, you have to do what I say."

"With me being the one wearing the pope hat, you have to do what I say."

Nonononono. Because I'm wearing the pope hat, you have to do what I say*. Or: I'm wearing the pope hat, so you have to do what I say. What is so difficult about this?

ALSO, why do students always want to write "In the article, they say..." instead of "The article says..."?

* Yes, I'm aware that some K-12 teachers, for some inscrutable reason, tell students that they must never ever begin a sentence with the word "because." Dudes, that's a bogus, made-up rule, but if you MUST follow every silly instruction your high school teacher ever gave you while totally ignoring mine, what's wrong with "You have to do what I say because I'm wearing the pope hat"?