And We're Off!
And yet. Personally, when it comes to school stuff, I like structure. If you (as my instructor) tell me that a paper must be between 18-20 pages, I get that. At no point in my sometimes seriously malfunctioning brain do I think, "Hmm. She must not mean me. I'm going to type 10 pages instead." If you (as my instructor) tell me that I need a minimum of 12 references from scholarly journals, I am pretty confident that you and I are on the same page where "12" is concerned.
Today, one of my students handed me his assignment - not stapled, no cover sheet. He asked (which means he knew he was violating something, even if he wasn't sure exactly what), "I didn't staple my paper and I don't have a cover sheet. What does that mean?" I replied, "That means you lose 10 points." Then, student got a bit of a 'tude, rolled his eyes and mumbled, "Just forget it, then. I'll do another one." Exasperated sigh. Is he THAT put upon by my requests? Is stapling one's paper the modern-day equivalent of walking 5 miles to school, uphill both ways, in the snow, wearing a paper dress? Honestly, maybe I'm kooky that way, but I never really thought taking that extra step to staple my paper was tantamount to say, donating a kidney. A few other students managed the staple thing, but failed on the cover sheet. And then, finally, more than a few students turned in, oh, about 2 and a quarter pages. This is not three pages. This is barely two (in my opinion.) I am DYING to ask them, "What is your thought process?" Seriously. What part of "minimum of three pages" don't you understand? Is it THAT hard to write a few more paragraphs? Think of something remotely intelligent and record it? I guess. Perhaps I will find out when they get their papers back, with points deducted for failing to meet minimum requirements. That's always fun.
I leave the classroom and see some papers on the floor. On a hunch, I bend down and pick them up and they are my student's unstapled paper(s). All the world's a trashcan, apparently! Oddly, next to the trashcan where I threw out the paper was a rather large female student sleeping, homeless style, on the floor. Semi-fetal position, curled up facing the wall, sleeping on a floor so disgusting I wouldn't let my dog pee on it. It was the only time in my life I wished for a camera phone because I knew that NO ONE would believe me.
Those two incidents made me think about all the stupid/dangerous/disgusting things I did in college. Some of the bars I frequented had bathrooms so foul I can't believe they weren't shut down by the board of health, and I used them on more than one occasion, so I get that one's standards of cleanliness change with age. But. I am almost 99.9% certain that I never slept on the hallway floor of a public building. Perhaps I shouldn't mock and I'm being insensitive. Maybe the young lady was narcoleptic? But, she didn't look like she spontaneously fell into a sleeping position or a diabetic coma - she looked pretty well camped out there (using backpack as pillow). And just in case you think I'm overreacting or being prissy, you must think about one of the most disgusting surfaces you've ever seen, and then imagine sleeping on it. This floor is THAT dirty.