Monday, February 01, 2010

Beginning of the Semester Blues

I'm grading some basic assignments before classes this morning. I'm frustrated.

I used the word assignment Sisyphus shared a while back; in the instructions, I specifically said to cite the text they're using. Almost no one did. I'm guessing they'd blame this on their other instructors and claim that no one ever told them to cite their texts before, except someone who's taken two classes with me before, and who's certainly heard me rant about citing also didn't cite. It's frustrating when someone who's an attentive student doesn't retain that much between classes.

Please dog, if a student is going to do internet "research" to find out what a sonnet means, make him/her actually cite the source rather than just claiming to have done extensive "research."

I got some emails about assignments, usually about something like whether an assignment should be double-spaced. Yes, it's good to double-space. And usually the student who sends these emails is at least doing the assignment more than 10 minutes before class. It's the students who don't actually respond to the assignment that get to me. I don't care how brilliant your analysis of the whole of Shakespeare's sonnets is, the assignment asks you to choose one word from one sonnet and write about that. (And that analysis, not really brilliant. And certainly not original.)

And finally, the most important issue of all. Who is stupid enough to give herself grading during the first week of classes?

On the other hand, we're doing this sonnet today!


  1. Oh, too easy! Cute picture, though.

  2. Aww, are those the darling buds of May? Cute.

    And with the word assignment, do you mean they didn't cite the page or line number, or that you wanted a full-on citation and works cited page? That might seem like overkill. OTOH, if they didn't do it right, hand it back for zero credit and make them do it again.

  3. Shall I compare thee?

  4. if they are only to write about one word, you really do need to know the exact citation, or at least something to place it exactly in context. a single word may be used more than once, after all, even in a short text.

    this is a double-layered lesson on citations, no? all to the good. i'm a lover of citations, to text and to sources, because that is how people can see exactly what you are referencing! see, it's like magic!

    ok, yeah, i left the english major life and went on to law school, where one had better have those citations down correctly. but really it is a necessary life skill -- you say X, well show me why! if we are asserting facts and sources, we need to be able to find them, at least.

  5. I have the blues, too. Maybe we can harmonize?