I was chatting with my best friend about how much I detest grading papers that are overwritten. I shared an example of a student’s paper whose first sentence was 3 lines long and contained 4 words with 5 syllables and 3 words with 4 syllables. What I actually said to her was: ‘It’s like she took an idea and beat it to death for the next 10 pages.’ My friend responded: ‘that’s a hate crime against professors.’ And it is. So I thought of other things students do that constitute hate crimes (because we hate it).
10. Saying you will come to office hours and then not showing. We have office hours because we are supposed to. BUT if we know students are not going to come to office hours, we spend that time working on other things. If a student happens to come, then we stop and speak with the student. If you tell me you are coming, I plan my office hours accordingly. When you don’t show, I want to require you to attend an event I know was canceled.
9. Using a laptop or cell phone during class. Uhmm hello…I have eyes. I can see that you are off task because you are staring at your crotch or smiling at your computer screen. Nothing about self-efficacy theory evokes thoughts of masturbation or girlish giggles. Put that crap away.
8. Being sick and touching everything in my office. Look, you’re lucky I let you come into my office with your hacking, sniffling, sneezing, heavy breathing self. Please do me the courtesy of NOT touching every item within reach. Just sit there—preferably while wearing a mask and gloves—and listen to what I’m saying. Then leave promptly so I can disinfect everything before the germs take root.
7. Asking for extra credit. This is not middle school. You don’t have get out of jail free cards in college. If you didn’t do the assignment correctly the first time, why would you magically be able to do it now? No. I am not grading extra work because you chose not to follow directions. Please move on. And don’t pass Go, and don’t collect $200.
6. Sending emails after 8pm and expecting a response. You don’t respond to ANY email I send no matter what the time so why should I be expected to respond to your 11.29pm request for help with the paper due in 8 hours? If you send me another email that late at night, I’m going to send you a virus.
5. Plagiarism. This is just plain foolhardy. The same way you searched the internet for terrible things to copy, we can search the internet and find what awful document you copied. But most of the time, we don’t even have to do that. When you include sentences like ‘I use this term in the sense in which it is used in cybernetics, that is, in the sense of processes with feedback and with feedforward, of processes which regulate themselves by a progressive compensations of systems.”, I know you are plagiarizing Piaget. What the hell is cybernetics? You don’t know do you? Because you aren’t an engineer. And neither am I. The jig is up.
4. Asking for handouts for missed classes. YOU missed class. I was there. Why should I go out of my way to catch you up because you decided to go to your cousin’s best friend’s brother’s wedding in Oregon? I didn’t get an invitation to the wedding and you aren’t getting the handouts from class. See how it feels to be left out?
3. Unprofessional emails. If we have never met, please don’t address me by my first name. Because you are not my personal friend, you have no clue if I am married or not. Please do not default to Mrs. because I am a woman. Though you don’t know my age, it is safe to assume that I am not your peer; therefore, please do not type your email as if I am your bff and we lol 2gether. I don’t care if YOLO. This is a place of business. Use proper diction and complete sentences. Which leads me to….
2. Poorly written papers. This includes lack of organization, poor grammar, awful spelling, too short and too long papers, incorrectly formatted papers, off topic papers, papers you submitted in your last class with me, papers you submitted in my colleague’s class, hastily written, and poorly researched papers. If I have to read one more essay that begins ‘Since the beginning of time, man has…’ I am going to drop kick someone in the throat.
And the most offensive hate crime is….
1. Asking questions whose answers are ON THE SYLLABUS! I didn’t write that for my health. I wrote it so I wouldn’t have to tell 20 students individually where my office is, my office hours, when assignments are due, how many points assignments are worth, what the required texts are, the grading scale, attendance policy, or that I don’t accept late work. For the love of God, READ THE SYLLABUS!