Just who do you think you're hurting here, kid?
I just got finished grading a stack of essays, and once again, there is a troubling pattern that emerges. A certain student-- let's call him Timmy-- has once again slapped together a mishmash of an analytical essay, even though he had over a week to write three pages... in a college credit class. I had a feeling from the smirk he gave me when he handed it in that it was going to be the purest moonshine, and the essay didn't disappoint. Undeveloped, unresearched, unwept, unmourned, unsung... sorry, I got carried away for a second. I asked for a minimum of 750 words, and he used the word count feature in his word processor and printed at the bottom of the page that it was 752 words exactly.
Since it was typed, and he doesn't have a study hall, the best that I can say is that he didn't do it the hour before it was due. It was chock-a-block with comma splices, sentence fragments, random abbreviations, slang (for example, one does not use "Dude" in an academic paper unless perhaps it is an analysis of The Big Lebowski, but I digress), and cliches. There was not a single reference to a specific event in the entire thing. Then there was the section where he committed major historical errors on the scale of claiming that the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor and Moses led the animals two by two onto the ark of the covenant.
From what I understand from some discreet inquiries, he spends much of his time outside of school playing basketball and hanging out with friends. He is a bit of a party animal. He boasts about not doing school work. That's all fine, and it's a free country. He is welcome to waste my time grading the dreck he deigns to turn in, and he's welcome to wallow in the grade that he has gone to more effort to earn than if he just put his head down and did a half-decent effort at the assignment. He is also a potentially intelligent young man with an IQ of probably about 125, were we privy to such things, which we are not.
I feel like telling him that I can outlast him, so if he's waiting for me to "yell" at him (the generic term used by kids for any sort of word other than praise), he's going to just keep on waiting. But the poor little guy thinks he's being clever and putting one over on the system. He'll get his ridiculous little D and pass the class, sure, but someday....
Someday, he'll find out he can't get in to State U with that GPA, much less the out-of-state school he's been talking about. I've tried gently to counsel him; I've called mom, but...
he just... doesn't... believe... us.
And he is only hurting himself. Sad.
Thanks to this site for the cool illustration.