Monday, October 17, 2005


Well, after Penn State's disappointing loss to Michigan (anyone want to actually argue that they deserved those two seconds back on the clock) made even worse by the broken arm of one of our star freshmen, I was pretty bummed out Saturday night. I got over it, though, by watching A Very Long Engagement with my wife. That's a pretty good little movie, and not at all what I expected. Check it out.

More importantly, however, I administered my first test today, to my Asian Lit class. Are you a student right now? Then let me give you a few helpful hints that your teacher may want to say but doesn't feel comfortable mentioning:
  1. READ THE DIRECTIONS! I'm sorry you wrote a paragraph in response to all four quotes, but it clearly says in the instructions to only pick TWO quotes. Incompetence on your part does not equal failure on mine.
  2. It's true, 50 minutes isn't very long for a test. But since I listed this in the syllabus as an in-class exam and kept track on the board of how much time was left, why are you so shocked that I say "No, you can't finish this later" and "No, you can't have extra time, since another class needs this room"? I'm sorry, but everyone got the same amount of time. Stomp back to your seat if you want, but you weren't deceived.
  3. I'm not trying to be the strict bad guy, I'm just trying to follow departmental procedures. So don't get mad if I call you on plagiarism that I can document you've committed. I'm sure you wouldn't have done it if you knew exactly what the consequences would be, but don't cry to me just because you got caught. Of course you can't put your name on someone else's paper and then tell me I'm not being fair. (This wasn't on the test, just another fun conversation I had with a student today).
  4. I'm sorry you didn't finish the test, but yes that will affect your grade. I mentioned a week ago that time management was important--since the long essay is worth half the points of the test, I'm assuming you'll spend a lot longer on it that on the short answer questions that are only worth 10% of the test. I'm flexible and I'll try and grade fairly, but again, the time you'd have for the test was no secret going in, so don't say "I didn't finish; is that going to affect my grade?" Of course it is.
  5. It's true, I didn't try and make it an "easy" test. It's a test, not a walk in the park. Deal with it. It may not have been easy, but I also don't think it was very difficult. There were only eight questions for crying out loud. And FIVE of them only required a word or two for the answer!
So yeah, not exactly my favorite morning ever. Between test complaints and the plagiarist telling me she felt worthless, I just felt like an awesome person. On the plus side, I'll give them a week to cool down before I give them their mid-semester evaluations (of me). Hopefully they'll have forgotten how much tests suck by then. But I doubt it.

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