Thursday, March 20, 2014

Big Thirsty: Think small

There's no background to this question.  I'm just curious:

What is the smallest, most inconsequential action or inaction that a student might perform that drives you up the walls?





36 comments:

  1. Open mouth sniffling during a final exam.

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  2. A student who is coughing and sneezing at the computer keyboard, and then s/he asks you to sit down and help them.

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  3. I know I sound like a broken record (I've complained about this before) but I hate it when students slip papers at me at the end of class. DON'T do that! I even have this rule in my syllabus. Sorry, but I cannot be responsible for miscellaneous papers slipped into my pile of stuff at the end of a class. My students are allowed to hand things in WHEN I COLLECT THEM, and that is IT. YES, this is partially because I have a hard time organizing all the little pieces of shit, er, paper, er, stuff, er whatever that go along with teaching. But damn, I hate when they say "Professor, did you look at that homework assignment/essay/note from doctor/whatever that I handed you without speaking to you about it at the end of class two weeks ago? Did you?"
    No. I did not. I will not. Go away.

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  4. STAPLES!!! (Twitch! Twitch!)

    Also: not knowing the difference between "it's" and "its."

    But what REALLY drives me BATSHIT LOCO is when students LIE to me when THEY DON'T EVEN HAVE TO, since I HADN'T EVEN ASKED!!!

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    1. Oh, and as I tell my physics classes: "nuclear" is pronounced "NEW-clear," as in it's not so new, and it's not so clear either. Anytime I head a politician mispronounce it "new-kew-LAR," I think that this fool should not be making decisions about it, since they clearly don't know literally the first thing about it.

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    2. OH MY GOD, the STAPLES. I know you're poor, but really? A stapler is not expensive.

      And DO NOT interrupt me while I'm in or near the bathroom. There's a reason I'm there, and I'm probably in a hurry because I don't get all the time in the world to go there whenever I want. (Read: after my 8 am lecture, before which I drank 2 mugs of coffee and during which I drank another.)

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    3. One of the great things about being a guy is that if some fool disturbs you in the bathroom, you can turn sideways and LET HIM HAVE IT.

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  5. Another very obvious but nevertheless very annoying one: asking questions that are on the syllabus (and/or whatever handout is relevant to the assignment). Or (getting more and more common) misreading the syllabus, handout, etc., usually by focusing on some dependent clause or parenthetical bit somewhere describing how to deal with a very particular situation that might come up -- and in fact has come up in the past, but doesn't apply here. There's a sort of arms race, or reverse arms race, or something, going on -- we write assignments that try to anticipate any and every eventuality, which are then so long that our increasingly attention-impaired students don't/can't read (or at least comprehend them), so we get even more detailed, and it gets worse, and so on. . . . I'd love to unilaterally disarm, but students would still complain that my assignments aren't "clear," and my colleagues/chair -- deprived of the ability to point to the place where the picayune point that got the student into trouble is addressed -- would agree.

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  6. Every day I have a different student bring in an old homework problem. They're asked to write the problem on the front of the page and the answer on the back, and then I make copies so the other students can look at it try it as an ungraded quiz (just to help gauge how well they understand the material and to show them how they all could use more practice).

    Anyway, I specifically tell them to choose problems where the correct answer has already been provided (odd-numbered homework problems, examples from the book, examples we did in class, etc.) because if they provide an incorrect answer, it throws everyone off. It's a waste of time to distribute problems with incorrect answers because then students who get the right answer think they're wrong, and confusion ensues. I say this over and over again, stressing how important it is.

    And yet somehow, every semester I get a handful of idiotic jackasses who cannot follow that one simple instruction, who work the problem out on their own, make a mistake, and provide the wrong answer.

    I have sympathy for students who struggle with math. I even find sympathy for students who cannot add fractions, after telling them how to do it four different times. But IF YOU CANNOT FOLLOW THIS ONE SIMPLE, BASIC INSTRUCTION, I WILL DESTROY YOUR SOUL!!!!

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  7. Walking across the front of the classroom as I am lecturing. Putting their head down on the desk at anytime. These are major no nos for me!

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  8. Throwing the g******m paper towels towards the trashcan. You miss 90% of the time! You only pick it up off the floor when I see you do it! There is paint all over the walls around the trashcan from your f*****g "rebounds". QUIT IT! RAWR!

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  9. Misspelling my name (or using an entirely different name for me) in written correspondence. It's an easy name for native English speakers -- roughly 99% of my students. It's on the syllabus. And if I can learn 80 new names per semester, I would like to think they can learn their FOUR professors' names.

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  10. The shreds of spiral notebook pages that cling to the edge of their crappy work. Especially if it's perforated. Not all of my students turn in crap, but nothing with that shit hanging on the side has ever been any good.

    Or when I say "staples, not paperclips", so instead they get those clamp things. Those things are even worse than paperclips.

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    1. Amen. Or the torn and bent origami corners.

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    2. But... but... I LOVE binder clips, seriously! If they are the right size (a big "if", I grant you), I prefer them even to taples. Especially for my famous maniacally horribilificus Mid-term projects (haven't yet seem a decent one under 40 pages, where binder clips are the only reasonable way t hold them together.

      I agree, though, that students who use paper clips should be forced to buy textbooks that are held together with too-small paperclips.

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  11. Replies
    1. Am I the only one that read this as "pen-Licking" and thought, "What kind of students do you teach?!"

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    2. I do sometimes wonder what kind of students I teach, Sawyer.
      Your comment really made me laugh and, to be honest, I probably would prefer that they licked the pens.

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  12. The staple issue and the sneaky paper slipping shit goes away entirely if you switch to online submissions only. Students must submit their own paper, and the system won't even let them upload it if it's as much as thirty seconds late. It's amazing how much more punctual all of my students are!

    As for the little shit that irks me, oh my god, that could be quite a list.

    1. Student teachers who are wearing jeans and flip-flops on the day that I observe their class. I mean, you knew I was coming. You know I'm judging you. Make an effort.
    2. Texting. If you read of a professor who has been arrested for kicking a student's cellphone up his or her nose, there is a good chance that's me. I don't just mean in class, mind you -- That, I can put a stop to. I mean walking in the halls, on the sidewalk, standing in the goddamned stairwell . . .
    3. Oh, shit, speaking of! ELEVATORS. Listen, dipfucks, here's how it works. The doors open, you step to one side and let people get off, and then you file on in an orderly fashion. Don't stand in a goddamned brainless defensive line at the exit and then push forward while I'm trying to get out. Step aside. When I say, "Oh, excuse me," what I'm really saying is "Fuck you."
    4. Rolling your eyes and smirking at the now ubiquitous autistic kid. Listen, dumbshits: you were lucky enough to be born with a more or less standard neurology. Some folks ain't so lucky, and they've had to make some workarounds through their wonky grey matter. If you'd actually listen to what he's saying, though, you'd realize he has read the assignment and has a really good point. So knock it off. Your brains aren't much to be proud of, cause you have a normal infrastructure and what have you done to it, eh?
    5. Coming to my office hours to work on a paper, but bringing nothing at all with them, not even a pen.
    6. B.O.
    7. Often worse than B.O., perfume. Jeesus, Jezebel, dial it down a notch or two, eh? This is my office, not a French whorehouse in the thirties. And I'm talking to the men.
    8. Also, to the men -- no, you do not have to sit with your legs sprawled out to take up all maximum space, when I'm trying to walk around the class and check on people's work. Every time I step over your legs, I'm afraid you're going to knee me in the balls. And that's the point, isn't it?
    9. Speaking of that, sitting in the hallway outside of a class. Have you heard of chairs? Or, hell, just standing for a few minutes? Your gangly limbs are taking up prime walking space.
    10. Getting offended when I get your name wrong. Oh, honey, all blonde girls look exactly the same to me, as do all athletic young men with short hair and a wardrobe consisting entirely of workout clothes. I make an effort to learn names, but I'll get it wrong sometimes. At the same time, would it hurt you to call me "Doctor" sometimes?
    11. Littering, right in front of me, on campus. That's the only time I ever just stopped a student and verbally berated him out of the blue. Disgusting.
    12. Yelling the word "faggot" through a bullhorn out of your dorm room window while I am walking by. I know it wasn't directed at me, but it would be nice to be subjected to hate speech at work.

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    1. Re 7: Many young guys don't realize that Axe body spray does NOT drive women batshit-loco, the way they show in the ads. Think about it: if it really did, it would cost a whole lot more.

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  13. Deer in headlights looks during a lecture without a pen or paper. Not even when I tell them a particular note will be especially on the test.

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  14. 1. Often, I encountered students playing games like hackey sack in the corridor. Usually, they were completely oblivious to the fact that they often get in the way of anyone walking along. Worse yet, they became offended when I told them to do it some place else.

    2. Students who got upset that I returned their work all covered in red ink because I thoroughly checked it and often made comments pointing out things they could do better next time.

    3. Students who insisted on nattering during my lectures, particularly while I was talking, and then getting mad at me because I told them to shut up after repeated warnings. After all, I didn't show them "respect".

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    1. Now, now, QWV, it can be lots of fun to play hacky-sack with some students, with them as the hacky-sack.

      Boot! BOOT! BOOT-BOOT! BOOT-BOOT-BOOTBOOTBOOTBOOTBOOTBOOTBOOTBOOT!!!

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  15. 1. FAIL to have have a pencil/pen and paper out during lecture.

    2. Misuse affect/effect

    3. Walk into my office without knocking (even if the door IS open, it is STILL polite to say, "May I come in?"

    4. Say, "...but in the REAL world ..." Argh! do you think you are IMAGINING this?

    5. Say, " But I was ONLY ONE MINUTE late!!" Buddy, one MILLISECOND late is still late!

    6. After being told, "this policy was stated in the syllabus," saying, "But I didn't think you were SERIOUS!"


    Oh my, I could go on and on and on.

    And speaking of sprawled students, early last fall I had one (male) in running shorts, 'going commando' with junk spilling out into unfortunate visibility. I VERY LOUDLY said to him: "NEXT TIME, WEAR SOME UNDERWEAR" - and pointing right at the offense, "THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE!"

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    1. re #4, Maybe they are referring to a world with Windows/Android-based operating systems instead of iPads, iphones, etc.

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    2. Re: #1. This. Maybe I started class with a friendly discussion about the highly relevant documentary I recommended last week. Maybe I offered tips based on the abysmal quizzes I just handed back. Whatever; it's 7 minutes into the class period and it suddenly occurs to you that it might be a good idea to get out your notes and dig for a pen?

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  16. Leaving a one-hour class 10 minutes into it. I'm lecturing on exactly what I indicated I'd be lecturing on based on the lecture notes I posted yesterday. Why the hell did you come in the first place?

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  17. Bringing boy/girl friend to office hours and getting pissed off when I tell the special friend to wait outside my office. And desktop drumming. Foot/leg jiggling. Audible gum chewing.

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  18. I HATE it when they call me "Miss Orang." Also the head down on a desk thing during lecture is very annoying. Just leave if you are so overwhelmed with fatigue! You won't be missed.

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  19. "I know your syllabus says not to tell you why we miss class but ...."

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  20. Using personal emails with embarrassingly bad addresses. By now, everyone on the planet over 15 should know that sexyguy42 or hotbootybabe make people laugh at them, not with them. Every single student has a school-provided email that's generic but professional, based on their name, but these geniuses are either too lazy to log in to that or don't think there's anything wrong with their personal account names. I don't know that they use these same horrors for job applications; it may be that they think "teachers" are their friends (or servants) and they don't give a shit about what anyone working at the school thinks of them.

    On that note, "teacher", "Mrs. Steam" or "Miss Self" -- once I got an email greeting of "Hey momma:" -- and other childhood artifacts show that they don't get that college = adults.

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  21. Sending me emails with no subject line, and starting "Hey, Red" We are not in an American college film.

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  22. sniffing repeatedly, but saying "no, I'm fine" if I politely offer them a tissue. Other people sniffing makes the back of my throat itch with sympathy...

    calling me "Miss..."

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  23. Starting an email thusly:
    "Galore, ..."

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  24. Female students in tank tops with more than 3/4th of the breasts popping out. Really not suitable for school wear. Hard to avoid looking -- which is awkward....

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