You know what? I like school. I liked high school because amidst all the busywork and stupidity, there was actual stuff to be learned. Because for every godawful formula-memorizing Trig, there was Lit class where the teacher wanted us to read and analyze and think.
Now, I like college even more. It’s like they’ve taken all the bitter, cynical, intelligent, I-care-about-your-grade-as-much-as-you-do teachers that gave me the intellectual equivalent of a hard-on back in high school, bred them, and staffed the Computer Science department with them. I can throw a brick and concuss a person whose class I would find both enjoyable and educational. You aren’t one of them, as much as I would enjoy throwing a brick at you.
Would you like to know why I’m writing this to you?
Put simply, you can’t tell where your opinion ends and reality begins. You teach the interpretation of the text. And you know what? I argue with you in class. And it’s a learning experience. You’re smart and all, and you always have cites from the book to back up your interpretations. And so do I, thanks to time spend in GD. But that doesn’t matter, does it? Because you are the professor.
We’ve written two papers for you. My first paper was a good damn paper. I had 2.5 friggen’ pages of textual support, my thesis was eminently defensible, but oops! I just happened to take my paper in a direction that you didn’t support. Do you know what she marked on my paper? There was a checkmark on every sentance except the one where I accidentally switched tenses. There was a “nice transition” comment for two of my transition sentances. And there was a complaint that I used the word “assimilation” in the standard meaning of integrating into a society, rather than the slightly odder definition that the author we were reading used. And the grade. A B-.
That’s okay. I can deal with Bs. My paper was a good paper, not a great paper, and I get that I’ll get docked a few points for going against your will. But you know what? I just got back my 2nd paper, and it was an A.
My 2nd paper was what happens when every teacher I have decides to be merciful and get their tests/projects/2nd paper out of the way early so we aren’t hit with a bum-rush right before spring break. It is what happens when I need to study for and take 2 tests, learn about and implement dynamic memory allocation, and write a paper about a book I don’t like for a class that I dislike. It sucks. There are two pieces of textual support. It’s 14 pt font with tweaked margins and 2.75 spaced, and is still .25 pages under the minimum length. My external source was the frigging syllabus for the course. And you know why I got an A? Because I argued like hell, wrote down whatever you said, and incorporated it into my paper. I went back and deleted large chunks of quote, and replaced them with “it is obvious from (scene that I quoted) that (paraphrase of what you said)”. My paper sucks, and you gave it an A because I wrote it specifically to be what you wanted to hear.
And you know what? I honestly don’t care all that much. You are a horrible excuse for a teacher for giving that POS an A, but that’s breaks, right? And now I know exactly what to do for the big research paper coming up soon. But dammit, you suck.