Countdown to Freedom: 10/22/2012

Twenty-nine days to go.

Welp, we’ve broken the –30– barrier. That’s something. I guess.

This morning I dropped five of the errant Magazine Writing students. Two others self-deported, as it were, by proactively dropping the course.

One person responded to my reminder that they were supposed to have done not one, not two, but three assignments by last Friday with the report that she’d had surgery last Thursday.

Captain Bligh

This twangs one’s heartstrings, no? You’d have to be Capt. Bligh not to respond empathetically.

Well. Sure. Until she lets it slip that this was elective surgery, done “out of town.” The Blackboard site for this course went live two weeks before the course began last Monday. My e-mail was posted prominently on that site’s homepage.

If you know you’re going to be put out of commission in the first week of a course you’ve signed up for and you know the instructor’s name and e-mail address, wouldn’t it make sense to send a message?

Dear Ms. Boxankle:

I have surgery scheduled on October 18. I will have to travel to Phnom Penh to have the operation done, and so it looks like I won’t be able to participate in your online course until the second week. Will that be all right? I will try to get the first week’s assignments in as soon as I’m well enough to type.

I hope you will bear with me. Thank you for your indulgence.


Your Subservient Student

How hard is that, anyway?

I told her I’d accept her work late if she could send me something from the doctor or hospital showing the surgery took place.

Just when you think public education has been dumbed down as low as you can get, you stumble across some brilliant new innovation. Students are already arriving in my classrooms unable to write (or to read) cursive. They print everything, slooowlyyyy and painstaaaaaakinglyyyy. Now we have this: why bother to teach them algebra, since most of them will never have any use for it and besides none of them can understand it, anyway?

The 101 students are running up to their cause-and-effect paper, a vast 750-word tome on causes, effects, or both of some issue related to one of the class’s four subtopics on public education in America.

Instructor: Get together in your groups and brainstorm ideas for causes and effects of issues related to your topic. Then write down your topic on a piece of paper and hand it in before  you leave.


I’m writing about the cause and affect of furthering your education.

Effects in the job market from not going to college.

The cause and effect of an increase in college students.

My topic is the purpose of school. Specifically, the cause and effect of the purpose of education. The answer may seem very simple, but maybe with some research and opinions of others it might be more detailed and complex.

Education and the income gap.

Meanwhile, the 102s are starting to work on their 2,500-word position paper.

Instructor: Get together in your groups and brainstorm ideas for causes and effects of issues related to your topic. Then write down your topic on a piece of paper and hand it in before  you leave.


Government jobs and military jobs should require a education to get a job in the government field because it will protect our [illegible] security level.

My position on deportation. I believe we should all be given a chance to succeed regardless of background.

Something along the lines of how they say every little thing is bullying when it’s not.

No Child Left Behind and standardized testing is not helping the students it is harming.

{sigh} I’m supposed to read 2,500 words of this? No: make that fifty thousand words of like drivel: 2,500 words x 20 students.

What. Is. The. Point?

Well, you can see why educators think there’s no point in teaching algebra—what’s the use, when few of them will learn it any better than they’ve learned to use their native language?

Image: Portrait of William Bligh. Painted by J. Ruffell, royal painter to His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Duke of York; engraved by J. Condé. Frontispiece in A Voyage to the South Sea, Undertaken by Command of His Majesty, for the Purpose of Conveying the Bread-Fruit Tree to the West Indies, in His Majesty’s Ship The Bounty, Commanded by Lieutenant William Bligh. London: George Nichol, ca. 1792. Public Domain.




  • […] too, dwelling on the ludicrousness of one’s job and how much one hates it is not good for one’s mental health. Possibly I should try not to […]

  • Tina Minchella

    October 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm Reply

    Ummmm…I just had a student DEMAND that I give him an extension because he was going on a cruise. It is not even worth my time to ask “Why would you ever plan a cruise during the weeks you are scheduled to be in class?” Instead I told him, “If I don’t get to go on a cruise, no one does!” *twerps*

    • Melete

      October 23, 2012 at 3:59 am Reply

      A cruise! LOL!!!! That is GREAT.

      One semester a kid told me he was going to miss a due date because his parents had given him a trip to San Diego for his birthday. Right…your parents are going to yank you out of your college semester to send you to on a trip. :roll:

      The trouble is, given the general flakiness around here, it seemed entirely credible.

  • 101 Centavos

    October 24, 2012 at 2:17 am Reply

    After reading those little student nuggets, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe laugh, then cry.

    • Melete

      October 24, 2012 at 9:44 am Reply

      Laugh. Then get out the Maker’s Mark.

  • Remy @MLISunderstanding

    October 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm Reply

    I sent an email that looked very much like the one you outlined above to one of my professors last week. “I misread a due date; I screwed up; I’ve been very busy with this wedding thing; my work so far shows how much I take this course seriously; you have been more than generous and would you consider a 1-day extension?” More or less. I got back a prompt response with an offer for an extension with a 20% grade reduction. Better than nothing! (And, as it happened, I aced the exam, so that’s a passing grade of 80%.)

    Mistakes happen, and sometimes you get a break if you ask nicely. But not when you’re just DUMB about it. *sniff*

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