Tag Archives: snowflakery

Believing in the green light.

So, as I mentioned on the podder, I went to this 2 hour meeting at which my dear 6pt cheater plead her case, at length, to a jury of her peers and mine. The board members, as they are called, were very impressively non-partisan, and professional, and I came out of the hearing convinced that I could well trust their judgement, but I was not 100% sure of what that outcome would be.

The final report arrived a couple days ago, and, in short, it upheld the original penalty. So, after 4 months of whining, and complaining, and driving everyone concerned a little nuts with her behaviour (everyone who talked to her had meetings that went for at least an hour, every time), 6pt managed to achieve exactly nothing, except that now she has an official “cheater” tag, and has managed to irritate several people. As my Head of Department said, “that will teach her not to paste an essay on a handout for an exam, except it probably won’t.”

The written report of the hearing was very interesting; while for the most part, it was an objective summary of events, there were a couple of points at which the language went from temperate to snippy. It described 6pt as elaborating at length about how she thought what she did was okay, and going on and on and on about how she had no intention to cheat, and then there was the curt sentence “the board deemed that motivation was irrelevant”. The conclusion also betrayed some annoyance, saying that the jury members expected 6pt to appeal the decision as she showed no respect for the process, and did not seem to listen to what was said. FYCL, was my response.

So a win in this battle, but what about the war?

For my part, this experience has added another dead duckism to my course outline, which raises for me some serious issues about expectations. Should I really have to tell my students not to try to sneak prepared essays into an examination? Is it right for me to laugh at the guy who waited 6 weeks before asking what he should do about missing his exam? Ought there to be a pineapple clause, explaining appropriate behaviour when meeting with your professor? Where are these lines?

Sarcastic Bastard suggested that perhaps articulating dead duck rules might be part of the problem; that our students are so used to being told what to do and doing just what they are told that they don’t ever think about the reasons for instructions. One of the jury asked 6pt a couple questions about this, why she didn’t ask herself what my instructions¬† meant, or whether it crossed her mind, while she was standing at the photocopier, whether what she was doing was really within the spirit of the instructions, but she was adamant that it never occurred to her to think about stuff like that.

Of course, the kicker here is that she was in a class about critical reading and writing, where, you know, I was trying to teach her to read critically, and analyse documents, and understand things like what a writer might have been saying beyond the surface of a text. You know, things like “why am I being told not to write on the back of the handout?” Her failure to apply the things she was learning in the course to other situations, related to the damn course, depresses me, because it seems to be indicative of the depth to which snowflakery runs.

I could let this really get to me, or I can do what 6pt refuses to do, and accept it, and learn from it, and wade back into the fray. I choose to beat on, a boat against the current.

Late-blooming Assholes

We’re a fair way into semester. Actually, we’re in the home stretch, where the light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be the headlight of the oncoming train.

In my classes, major research papers were due a couple weeks ago, and last week, my lit classes had oral presentations. It’s been a quiet semester, apart from the odd narcoleptic and the notes I get once a week from Bossy. I was wondering about this, given how eventful last semester was, but not, I am quick to point out, in an ungrateful way.

So, I’m idly wondering where my quota of assholes hem, “problem students” for the semester has got to, when I get a series of emails from some guy whose name I don’t at all recognize about how he has an essay to hand in. “Wait, whut?” is pretty much my response, but he’s persistent.

If by “persistent” you understand that I mean “an annoying asshole”. First, he turns up randomly at my office 2 hours before any advertised office hour and hassles Sarcastic Bastard for 20 minutes about where am I. Then, he comes to class, and at the end of it, attempts to hassle me about where was I when I wasn’t in my office at 9am on Monday morning. In response to my mild-mannered enquiry about why would I be, he says, “Well, I said I wanted to meet you then, and when you didn’t reply to my email, I assumed you would be there.”

Did you get that, gentle readers? The correct response to receiving no answer to your emails is to assume the answer is “yes”. I am going to get right on to emailing everyone I know (oh, why stop there? I will email everyone I don’t know, too) asking for outrageous favours. When you fail to respond, I will naturally assume this means you are coming over to scrub my floors and dig my veggie garden on the weekend, while I go off to an all-expenses paid trip to the spa, and that you all will be doing any parenting or marking that my spa attendage might cause me to neglect. Also, that those gift certificates from EatSleepKnit are in the mail.

Anyway, back to the annoying asshole (who, and I am sure you will appreciate this little detail, wears a black leather jacket and has a saxophone in a hard case strapped to his back, presumably so people will know he is an arty-farty jazz-head-type asshole), who comes up to me at the end of class and says “I tried to see you in your office hour.” Oooh! Outrageous lie! Can I resist calling him on it? You know I cannot.

“Well, I know you turned up at my office at a random time and were rude to my office mate,” I say. He is startled by this, like, it had not occurred to him that professors might communicate with one another. “Well, anyway,” he carries on, after his momentary pause, and then wants to talk to me about what he needs to do to pass the class, because, he says, he has worked out that it is “statistically possible”. What he doesn’t say is “even though I have only been to 3 classes all term”. So I helpfully point this out, and then he wants to throw down over whether it has been 3 classes or 4.

Really? That’s the hill you want to die on? I say, with my eyebrows, while with my mouth I say things about how it’s oral presentations, and he needed to pick a topic 10 days ago. “…but, since you don’t think my rules apply to you, I am sure you are going to suggest you can give me a topic at this point.” Gentle readers, I know you saw what I did there, all sarcasmic and everything, but does Sax guy? You know he does not. “I will have it to you by the end of the day.” This, in leather-jacketed jazz-sax-land means midnight, of course, at which time he picks a sonnet by Shakespeare that some other student, one who attends class and does actual work already has dibs on. By this point, I am severely irritated, plus I am conflicted at letting this asshole participate in peer-marking situations, especially when he hasn’t been in class all semester. So I say “give me your essay, but I am not going to let you present.”

The essay (dreadfully written pile of unsourced nonsense that it is) eventually turns up, but the student does not. Want to make a bet on whether he shows up for the final?

Oh, and narcolepsy update: I made her sit in the back during oral presentations, which apparently finally clued her in to the fact that the nodding off thing was annoying everyone, and not just me, and since then she has been making noteworthy efforts to actually stay awake.