Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Actual Student

The Matron has been in full-throttle engagement with Actual Students, of all sort.  Beware:  she of seamless prose and and pithy-punch lines has none tonight.  This blog post is largely a flare in the night to readers: "over here, over here!"   Still here.

So . . . for those unschooled in the ways of, well, schooling, here's a snapshot of the Community College Finals Week Experience.

  • It's okay to watch the TV show.  Pretty much sums it up.
  • Student who wrote 2000 word rough draft of final paper emails to say she's been 'sick' so final version isn't 'best work.'  She turns in a 309 word 'paper' (assignment calls for 2600).   The Matron wonders what happened to the rest of that text?  Dog ate the keyboard?
  • Four days after final papers are due, email appears from wayward student who has turned in only 1/4 of assigned word throughout the entire semester:  "Hey Mary am i missing some stuff or what?  lets meet up to fgure it out."  This is not the Matron's spelling of 'figure.' 

  • Student in online course explains her paper is not in because she just had a baby, then her apartment was robbed and all baby items and college textbooks -- stolen!   Hmmmm . . . sniffs the Matron.  Too far-fetched not to be true.  So she excuses the new mama (she thinks).  Guess who the Matron just happens to see on the local news that night?  You guessed it.  Poor victimized new -mama student pointing to the spot where her MISSING COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS used to be!  

  • God-Buddha-Allah-Oprah-Universe help her.   She read a 10 page paper ON male circumsicion.  That's right.  Circumsicion instead of circumcision -- for 10 agonizing pages:  circumsize, circumsized, circumsicion.  The entire paper topic spelled wrong.   Remember that whole thing about something too far-fetched NOT to be true?  Yup.

  • For readers not already immersed in techno-education lingo?  There are online classes and not online classes.  The latter are:  seated courses, on-the-ground courses, on-campus courses, traditional courses.  Nobody can seem to decide on Official Name.  So the Matron is now calling these her "real life classes."  

  • Student sends in long email asking for extension because her grandfather dies.  Kind Matron!  Matron asks only for a copy of the obituary and then, groovy, excuses ahoy.  Student admits that her grandfather did NOT die and there is no obituary.  Her boyfriend's grandfather died and she can send that one.  Matron (God bless her) says okay.  Student admits that boyfriend's grandfather didn't die but boyfriend's FRIEND's grandfather died and they were helping with the funeral -- a lot. 

  • Matron is asked to do independent study of sorts affording student academic credit for life experience, a task for which she will be compensated.  She finds out that dollar amount for her valuable hours of personalized assessment and instruction:  $75.  Total.

  • When not grading papers these past few days, the Matron takes small breaks by reading about employment opportunities outside of education.  See previous entry.

  • Student turns in paper in which not one single line is not plagiarized from the most obvious sources possible, a feat affirmed by the nifty anti-plagiarism software the Matron informs all of her students that she is USING.   When confronted, student replies that she forgot about that software and there, is her mistake.  

That pretty much sums up Tuesday.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I am teaching at a private vocational college and we have just begun a "blended" program. This means I am the one that is informing far too many people that "i" is not a word. Ever.

trash said...

Her mistake was forgetting the anti-plagarism software? Aiaiaiaia! Although the grandfather story might be my especial favourite.

*m* said...

These posts would be very sad if they weren't so damn funny.

Michele R said...

It is amazing and yet it is not amazing how so many parents are oblivious to what goes on with their tweens and teens.
We saw an email our 10th grader traded with a classmate in which classmate filled him in with actual topics and sentences to use for a paper. We called a meeting and had son apologize to her face. Cheaters never prosper.

Michele R said...

I meant to add in my 1st sentence above how those unsupervised teens grow up.
Character, character, character.

Gail said...

Are there no students who do the work, get it in on time nor worry about the anti-plagiarism software (because they are NOT plagiarizing)?

How sad.

Robyn said...


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

This kind of thing truly does make me fear for the future. And gives me great confidence in my children's chances to be successful if that's who they're up against.

Minnesota Matron said...

Oh yes, Gail - I have about 100 students each semester. The dedicated majority aren't nearly as good writing material. But they're here!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I'm glad to see your comment clarifying that your students aren't ALL that bad. I was about to lose hope in humanity!

Deb said...

Having just finished up the last week of the semester, I, too, am amazed at the stories that come out. I have to love the grandfather one...and I've never thought to ask for a copy/link to the obituary! I may adopt that clever twist just to see how they squirm out of it.

I received 5 group marketing projects, running from almost exemplary to total failure. And yet, not one used a very commonly used SWOT table to show their work, but rather relied on writing it all out for me to decipher. Tables are used for a reason, people! It makes the information easier to see and understand.

I wouldn't be so down if I didn't know they have had AT LEAST two prior courses that require that they do a SWOT analysis. I would expect them to know this.

Ugh...end of the semester, thank goodness!

Gail said...

Thank goodness, Matron! Granted those students are not as ... um ... interesting(?) but it's nice to know they are there and learning.

kellyg said...

I was a teaching assistant in grad school. My best cheating story is that 2 students turned in basically the same paper. Oh, one had changed a few descriptors here and there and a couple of other words so no, the two papers weren't identical.

My idea, which my prof agreed to, was that since they shared the paper, the students could share the grade. The paper was pretty good -- definitely B material. However by splitting the 84 in half, each student only got a 42 and that is, sadly, not a passing grade. The students really didn't know how to react to that at first. The looks on their faces were priceless.

Minnesota Matron said...

Kelly-- That is a lovely idea! I'll remember the halving trick. Sort of biblical, actually.

Karen Jensen said...

Yes, it is a mistake to get caught cheating. Bummer.