Thursday, February 22, 2007

Future Dr.

There is one professor in particular whose students I dread getting because he writes absolutely incomprehensible comments on perfectly good sentences while ignoring blatant errors. Part of the problem is that he is not a native English speaker. Most of the problem, however, is that he's just a space cadet.

One of his students brought me a paper tonight. One of the less effective things that this particular professor does is to force the students to write in groups. Often this leads to one student writing most or all of a paper. This happened in the paper I read and marked tonight.

Let's call the kid that wrote this particular paper Jimmy Olson. Now, this paper had a LOT wrong with it. Subject-verb agreement, over-dramatic language, and it had already mentioned two of the paper's "co-authors" as authorities to support the thesis without introducing them. It wasn't until I saw my student's name appear as an authority that I realized what was going on and upped my level of concern a couple of notches.

Little did I know that Jimmy himself was to make a cameo several paragraphs down.

"'Sugar, fat and cholestoral insuch quantities only ensure obesity, early cholesterol and thyroid problems, ' says future Dr. Jimmy Olson."

I thought, "Surely not. No, he wouldn't...."

Quickly I scrolled back up to the top of the document, and there it was: Jimmy's name blaring out at me on the top line in the list of author names.

The pre-med child thinks he's going to be a doctor. No. I'm sorry. A Dr.

The professor had not marked this little editorial freedom either.

By this time, I was so frustrated in the paper that my comments had devolved into snideness. Therefore, my comment was couched thusly: [With writing like this, I wouldn’t count on it. Besides, he’s a freshmen. How many freshmen pre-meds even become doctors? If he ABSOLUTELY HAS to qualify himself as something, he should qualify himself as freshmen pre-medical student. Student's Name, please don’t let him write your papers anymore. Please.]

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