Friday, January 7, 2011

Pay Attention or I’m Failing You

When I first started teaching writing, my friend, The Stable Goddess, gave me her syllabus. I loved how candidly it was written. Over the years, I've changed little bits and pieces. I always add important statements to my "welcome" lecture, but I've never written these statements down. Quite frankly, they've always struck me as too mean to put on paper. However, despite my constant lecturing, no one ever listens to the added details. Thus, the big bad monster finally wrote it down:

Much of this class works like a writing workshop, you are here to write even when I am not lecturing.

Pressing matters should be e-mailed to me. If you miss class, you may e-mail me your assignment. However, I will grade only hard copies of your work.

Your attendance is graded. According to the college's official policy, if you miss 5 classes before the withdrawal period, I have the right to recommend you drop the class. More importantly, at the end of the semester, if you've missed 8 classes or more, I have the right to fail you.

If you know you are missing class, tell me. You don't need to tell me why: missing class is missing class.

[sidenote: I didn't have the nerve to write this, but I always say: "You can't BS a BSer. Don't waste your time making up a story. I know you are lying. It is a mistreatment of my time and a waste of your time. When I was in college, I wanted to go on Spring Break with the Giant Gentile, but his spring break was different than mine. We went to Florida. However, I told my professors that I was going to Amsterdam. My King Author in Literature prof (who also taught Beat Literature) gave me a list of great places to buy pot brownies. (I don't tell my students that) My Women and Religion prof told me to write a paper on my religious experiences in Amsterdam. I spent a day of my vacation researching Amsterdam. I wrote a great paper. I got an A (actually a 93 because I failed to mention God in my religion paper). They didn't know I made it up, but I'll know you're making it up. You can only attend so many funerals…]

If you find yourself missing class for extended periods of time, no matter what the reason, come speak to me--not showing up for weeks or months and then randomly wandering into class is not acceptable. Doing all the work but never coming to class is also not acceptable.

You are responsible for what transpires in class whether you are present or not. Utilize Blackboard, this Syllabus, the School Syllabus, and a good study buddy to get caught up. I reserve the right not to repeat entire lectures to absentees. If you are absent the day a paper is due, you are still responsible for getting the paper to me on time. Never show up after an absence and ask me, "What did I miss?"(this is an exact quote from either the Stable Goddess or my adorable boss). A calendar is provided under Course Information to allow you to view the assignments.

In this class, EVERY DETAIL COUNTS. Your little mistakes reflect poorly on the content of your work. Pay attention to your work.

Always proof your work before handing it in. Get someone else to read your work. Visit the Writing Center. Red and Slick Willy will be happy to help you. Remember, they are not a proof-reading service. They are there to help you get your ideas straight and make sure your writing flows. Make an appointment before the assignment is due. They will not read over your assignment on the day it is due.

Most of all: do your own work. Do not pay someone to do your work. Do not ask your best friend, girlfriend, father of your child, tutor, the dude who sits next to you, or your mother to write your papers for you. Plagiarism and academic dishonesty are taken very seriously. Do not copy other people's work without citing. Do not make up information. If you are citing a study, a statistic, or quoting a person, it must be real. You cannot write a paper based on false information. It takes more work to cheat than it takes to do the work. It takes me less than thirty seconds to figure out you are plagiarizing. It takes only a few phone calls to figure out you are making studies up or getting other people to write your papers.

FINALLY- We are in a computer classroom. Be responsible. I can hear you clicking away while I'm talking. I can hear you laughing when I'm not being funny. I know you are on Facebook. I know you are tweeting about how bored you are. I see you checking your e-mail. Most of all, I can see you texting. I can see your Bluetooth and your mouth moving. If they really care about you, they know you are in class. If it is a true emergency, they can always call the English Department. Someone will come find you.

Then it goes on to the assignments. Am I too mean?



  1. Nope. That feels about right to me (though a line about how it's time to be putting on their 'big boy pants' would help make the point while adding a little humor...or not).

    Shabbat Shalom!