So I’m sitting in my office earlier today, waiting for students to hand in their final assignments, which for some include assignments on which I gave them extensions. One student, who has done barely a stitch of work all semester, rushes in with headphones on and music blasting loud enough that I can hear it. He puts his bag down and pulls out a manila pocket folder stuffed with paper. He has, he says, made up or rewritten all the work he missed or failed over the course of the semester. I’m not in the mood to argue with him about the fact that he has never once come to ask me for an extension of any kind, so I take the folder, wish him a good holiday, and put it in my bag to look at later.
Well, it’s now later, and I just finished going through his work. Aside from the fact that most of it is so late that it wouldn’t count anyway—since, as I said, he never once came to ask about an extension—and aside from the fact that (because he never bothered to pay attention) he ended up doing assignments I changed or eliminated over the course of the semester, he managed to do every single assignment incorrectly, including plagiarizing significant portions of the first page of his final paper. He even failed almost every single one of the online, untimed, open-book self-quizzes I assigned for each of the chapters that we read. And he did self-quizzes for at least three chapters I didn’t assign, and he failed those too.
Except that I am really annoyed because I had to go through everything he handed in—since he has so clearly failed the course, I wanted to make sure everything is properly documented—I have to say that there is something almost admirable about his consistency, in a very ironic and sad sort of way.
ETA: Okay, a second complaint. I thought, perhaps, I needed to step away from the stack of papers I was grading because I was starting to have to read some sentences two and three times before they made sense. So I did walk away, but when I came back, the first sentence of the paper in front of me still read: “Since back from the beginning of time, mankind has always had different parts of their lives.”