By Elizabeth Harber
As a writing teacher, every year I get a lot of the same questions from students. I put together this simple guide to help students find answers to these questions that always come up.
Are we doing anything in class today?
No, absolutely nothing. It is lucky you have chosen this day to not attend, because my lesson plan is blank. I will have everyone just sit silently, staring at a fixed point on the wall. They may not sleep, practice mindfulness, or think about whether acid washed jeans should have ever made a comeback. We will literally do nothing.
I want to be an engineer, so is it okay if I just sleep through class? I mean, I don’t really need to know how to write.
That’s right. When someone asks for your resume in the future, just send her that bridge you built out of swizzle sticks and attach a selfie.
If I put my phone under the table, you can’t tell that I am texting. Right?
Right. I just assume you are working on an elaborate macramé project down there, and you are afraid your classmates might steal your original design.
I didn’t follow the directions in the assignment; will I be counted down for that?
Never! I spend hours creating rubrics and assignment descriptions for fun. I assign paper grades by spinning a roulette wheel. Unfortunately, my wheel does contain a double zero.
Can you tell when I use 32 point font and quintuple spacing to lengthen my paper?
No – people do that? But please don’t use a really small font. That takes a lot of time to read.
I need to send you an email about a class-related question. Should I write my name at the end of it or just use an emoticon?
Definitely the emoticon. I am a visual learner, and emails of unclear origin make me LOL.
If I say, “I really need an A” in this class, will I get an A?
Yes. I just wait for students to tell me what grade they want and then assign it to them. It’s always surprising when someone says they really need an F+.
I replaced every other word in my paper with words I found in the thesaurus. Does that make my writing sound more complex?
Yes. This makes your writing much clearer. (Or perhaps I should say: This makes your inscriptions voluminously more perspicuous.)
I have a great topic for my paper: legalization of marijuana. Do you think that has been written about before?
No! This sounds like just the sort of unique topic I encouraged you to seek out. I have never heard of a student writing on this topic before.
I arrived late every day, didn’t turn in one assignment, and Facebooked through 90% of the class. Can I get a letter of recommendation?
Of course. My letter of recommendation will definitely help you in the future.
Hopefully this short guide helps clarify most of your questions and sets you on the right path this school year!
About Elizabeth Harber
Elizabeth Harber is a writer living in Colorado and has published non-fiction pieces in the Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and the anthology Italy from a Backpack.