Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Sometimes, I just want to vent. Sometimes, I want to yell.

Staple your papers.

Write your surname on your work before you turn it in.

Don't just stuff late work in my box or turn it in with the next day's pile of quizzes.

Take notes, and bring your notes to class.

I can't help the fact that you missed an in-class activity, nor can I think of a way for you to make up the work because it depends on other students working with you, and they've already done their part.

The list goes on. (And you should probably mentally add some expletives.)

The thing is, from a student's point of view, these are silly to get worked up about. Who cares is someone forgets to staple an essay. Really. What does it really matter?

And it's not like there are that many Jasons in the class, so why does the surname have to be there?

People forget stuff, and why should it really matter if something is turned in a day late? It's not like the prof has graded them all already.

I was sick, and had to miss class. Why can't I make it up.

And, of course, if there were one of these things at a time, it would be easier not to get worked up. If I only had one student who didn't staple work, I wouldn't care nearly as much. Sure, I could figure out if the pages got out of order, because really, how long does it take to read that one essay? What's fifteen minutes?

But I don't just have one student who hasn't stapled, or one Jason turning in work. I don't have just one student missing class to worry about, but 20-30 other people in the same class who didn't miss, and who want to go on with the next step. And it's a pain to try to keep track of 70+ peoples' work when it gets turned in at different times/places and gets into different piles.

And now I have to go off to an afternoon's schedule of meetings.

Deep breath, now, deep breath!


  1. I have a few more...

    When an instructor comes out of her classroom to, nicely, tell you to be quiet because you are interrupting an exam -- do it. Don't wait until the third time she has to come out -- because now, every time there is noise out there, she's calling campus security because she's tired of dealing with disrespectful jerks.

    Respond to every part of the paper prompt.

    Don't write e-mails calling me "mentally incompetent" -- and then expect me to help you.

  2. I can understand your annoyance with all of these things. Right now I'm marking projects where students have chosen to ignore several of the strictures. And I'm preparing myself for the complaints this will occasion on Wednesday when their corrected work is handed back.

    As you say, one infraction from one student isn't so much. But when dozens of students suddenly have to break ranks, and need special accommodation, it can be overwhelming. I'm just thankful that I somehow managed to scare away twelve students from my biggest class. Still, it's over five dozen!

  3. Ugh. I hear you, sister. There's nothing more irritating than all of the above. Just remember -- you get to give them their grades. Mwahahaha. :-)

    Of course, if they don't get the grades they want, then you get people writing you emails about what they can do... answer being NOTHING. I wish people would take all that energy they spend on negotiating and use it during the actual semester on their actual work. !!@#$%^&*(&^%$#

  4. Policies on the syllabus have gone a long way to eliminating 2, 3, and 5 for me, but I've come to get over the stapling thing (I basically just tell them that if they don't staple then it's on them if I lose sheets, and if their grade suffers, well, their problem and not mine) and the notes thing? Well, one can dream. Not to diminish your irritation. All of these are irritating. But I find that an ounce of prevention (Example: No in-class assignments can be made up under any circumstances; Papers that are not formatted according to MLA style -which includes full name - will be marked down; late work receives X penalty whatever your reasons) is worth a pound of good in terms of my irritation levels. Of course, this means that my syllabus reads like a legal code, and I'm unapproachable seeming to the uninitiated. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

  5. Here's another..when group work is going on, and a group of two large guys deludes itself into thinking it's party time and merges with another group of three medium-large guys, and (shifting to second person) your professor comes after putting up with it for a while and nicely says, "Hey, some of this is fine, but you guys are going too far," and you all laugh loudly and nicely having been busted, your professor expects you to do more than make a perfunctory turn back to your work before rejoining the party. Seriously, I hate being a dick; I hate being an enforcer, and it creates a bad vibe. But so does your crap. So take a hint and be polite for the other students and for the person, umm, who is eventually going to hammer a grade into the middle of your nose-abutting forehead.

    Gee, this couldn't have happened like TODAY, could it?

    And I agree with all of your points, Bardiac.

  6. Anonymous7:00 PM

    I actually write this statement on my assignment sheets:

    "Staple all pages in the upper lefthand corner. And no, I don't have a stapler."

    I make it a point to tell the students to buy their own damn stapler. One student actually did. She showed up to class one day with a mini-stapler and when I commented on its cuteness, she said, "Hey, you told us to buy our own damn staplers."

  7. Are you sure you're not teaching MY students? :)

    Unexpected Man takes off 10% when students don't staple. He's sick of lone pages flying away. It seems to be working.

  8. Anonymous6:34 AM

    The staple thing always drove me up the wall as a student. It was just way more of a logistical problem than it needed to be, and I was unwilling to constantly carry a stapler around on my person so it would be there on those few occasions when I needed it. I am sure if you think about it you will see this is not an unreasonable position. You guys should lobby for staplers (with staples in them!) to be made available to students who print their papers in the computer lab. My current university does this and -- PROBLEM SOLVED. The staplers are kept in a central location easily accessible to any student with staff nearby to ensure they don't grow legs.

    I realize that yes students should have their own staplers and all that but it saves so much grief for both students and faculty to just buy some and make them available. So you know... I think it's a very good thing.

  9. staplers walk off. they just do, along with tape dispensers, scissors, pens, etc. when i was putting together "mom's box of essential items for her student going off to college," a mini-stapler was one of the items.

  10. I have a colleague who makes one of those mini-staplers a requirement for the course. She requires the students to show her their stapler on the second day of class, and sends them straight to the bookstore if they have not got one. I am considering such a revision myself.

  11. On a recent health questionnaire, I was asked if my job requires that I perform repetitive motions. I checked the "yes" box and, in the comments field, noted that repeating my instructions to students goes straight to my neck and shoulders.

    About the stapler thing--I have developed a hide when it comes to unstapled papers. Watching a student staple his three page paper right smack-dab in the middle of the page, however, is something one is never prepared for.

  12. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Anyone else get crazy over the intricate corner-fold with built-in "locking" system created by the strange rips and wraps of the student who forgot to staple and then, at the last minute, performs an origami manuever?