Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Friday, June 30, 2006

I Should Keep a List

For a long time, I've been meaning to compile a list of the dumbest, strangest and/or most inane things students have ever said to me. And I keep forgetting. But Bobby's comment yesterday reminded me I need to start this now, before the best lines slip away from my memory . . .only to be lost forever. So, today I give you this short story:

The first semester I taught, I had in my syllabus that papers were to be stapled. And much to my amazement, students rarely stapled their papers. Sometimes they would expend the effort and use a paper clip or a binder clip, but mostly they just folded down the corners or rolled down the corners and handed me this sad, raggedy pile of papers that my dog would be embarrassed to pee on. Over the course of the semester, I found myself being a broken record: "Please staple your papers," and then, "I really need for you to staple your papers, people!" and finally, "If you don't staple your paper because you're thinking 'She must not mean me,' get off it already - I mean you!" This didn't work. And yet, I attempted it again and again, semester after semester. Is this how mothers feel? I cannot explain my level of frustration.

Finally, I decided to hit 'em where it hurts: The points. Last semester I finally put in my syllabus that five points will be deducted if your paper is not stapled. I may have mentioned that I had one male student this spring who handed me his paper which was held together with a safety pin. He said to me, "Is this okay, because it's so hard to find a stapler?!"

That goes on the top of my list because "It's so hard to find a stapler?" Where are you looking? Your ass? The bottom of a keg? Your girlfriend's blouse? Well, then, yes. I suppose it would be hard to find a stapler.

Sigh. And would you believe it? I used to be a "people person."


Blogger Mace said...

nice blog

June 30, 2006 1:17 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Well thanks!

June 30, 2006 1:53 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Hee!! "It's so hard to find a stapler!" I love how people are so unintentionally hilarious sometimes -- like, this guy has been wandering in the desert for 40 days, hot, thirsty, fumbling blindly all around him for that elusive stapler. Awesome.

Thanks for the visit -- this is some funny shit. :)

June 30, 2006 2:08 PM  
Blogger happychyck said...

OMG! I hope you asked the student where he looked. I would not have been able to hold my tongue on this one. Thanks for the laugh, though.

June 30, 2006 5:00 PM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

See, reading your blog while working is totally not slacking off- I'm getting ideas for my syllabus and everything! I've thought of bringing my own stapler to class, but no! It's the principle of the thing. Yoink! That's the sound of me stealing your syllabus, which I'd love to see sometime...

June 30, 2006 8:37 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

Yes. This is EXACTLY how mothers feel.

I just left a job and the guilt was too much, so I left my stapler and hole punch with my former employer. And I have not saved up the courage to ask my new employer for a stapler. And why would I possibly bring in one of the two staplers that I have at home? So, yes, "it's so hard to find a stapler"!

June 30, 2006 9:08 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

In my house the safety pin is harder to find than one of the three staplers. I'm beginning to think I've become that guy in Office Space...Milton. LOL.

But yes, you have to keep track of these stupid sayings.

After years of bugging me, I finally gave in to my mother's wishes and started writing down some of the stories I've told her about my job. You never know. In a few years you might have enough for a book which will entertain the masses and allow you to retire.

June 30, 2006 9:19 PM  
Anonymous isabel said...

A safety pin is easier to find? Hum....I needed safety pins once and had to go out and buy them-and that was hard.

Every time I read your blog, I think "oh, kids these days...", which reminds me how old I am.

July 01, 2006 1:57 PM  
Blogger Liesl said...

What is up with those turned-over corners? I've gotten some of those myself, and I never could figure out why one would go to the effort of writing a paper and then simply fold it, thus risking loss of a crucial page or two.

Hhhmmm. Perhaps you ought to include the 800 number for this place called "Staples" on your syllabus.

July 01, 2006 9:23 PM  
Blogger desiree said...

When I could afford to actually go to college (and I pray someday I will again) I always carried a mini stapler with me. Because they are easy to find. Because they cost like one dollar at the dollar store. Because I was prepared like that.

Your stories oft remind me of why I could harldy handle sitting through some classes. Your "one thing" is patience? Mine is being judgemental. I might have smacked the girl in the teeney top for having the audacity to think that her needs come before an entire class.


July 03, 2006 4:12 PM  
Blogger Fraulein N said...

Wh - where the hell did he find a damn safety pin? He could find a safety pin, but not a stapler? Who are these people?

Honestly, I would refuse to accept papers unless they met my criteria, as stated in the syllabus. Which, if you haven't read? It's kind of your own damn fault.

July 05, 2006 8:51 AM  
Blogger Dori said...

Have you considered bringing some staplers to class (on the day assignments are due), and charging $5 per staple? Money is sometimes as motivating as points. I feel your pain.

July 05, 2006 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Ha ha, I like Dori's idea.

July 06, 2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger The_Myth said...

Hell, I'm willing to supply the staples.

I just want to little darlings to DOUBLE-SPACE so I can actually try to read their illiterate ramblings without eye strain!

June 07, 2007 6:18 PM  

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