When the Aliens Contact Us

The city council of Paragraph City has decided that should aliens land in the city, a team of faculty who teach first year composition will be assembled to make first contact, since they are already well versed in communicating with the bizarre and inscrutable minds of alien beings. 

Some examples:

  • B. falsefied information on one paper, received her warning cheerfully, plagiarized material on her next paper, and failed the course as a result. Last week she “friended” me on Facebook.
  • R. participated in her online course once, an enthusiastic introduction. Then nothing for two weeks, at which point our NY state census policy requires us to administratively withdraw any non-participating student. That week I saw her in Wal*Mart, where, before gigantic packages of Twizzlers, Skittles, and Air Heads, she promised she was getting back into the course and this was “a real priority in my life.” Yesterday, in an effort to get her tuition refunded she told the registrar I made an error in retaining her in class since she had attended only the first day.
  • T., who should have graduated from high school in June, except she was missing an English credit, worked out a deal with a high school counselor to register for my summer writing class. T. couldn’t come up with tuition, so the counselor passed the hat and T’s teachers chipped in over $300 so she could register for the course. T. logged on once, posted a one sentence introduction, couldn’t find the course syllabus, and waited for me to contact her. For nine weeks she waited. On the day final grades were due, the counselor called me to tell me this story and ask what I could do for T.
  • D., an adult, native-English user with a B+ GPA plagiarized a literature paper — everything except the title, a couple of conjunctions and a handful of words used to patch together the edited down version of the online paper he used. Plagiarism was discussed in class, described in the syllabus, and covered in an assigned reading. Upon learning he had failed the course for plagiarizing, he wrote me this: “For what it’s worth, I am not a cheater or a liar. My perception of plagiarism was not tacit. Your class and your teaching abilities are of the up most eminence. Thank you for your time.”
  • L. had his work hours radically changed and was given responsibility for completing a project before this summer was out. While requesting an incomplete for my Writing About Lit course, required for his degree, he explained to me how pointless it is for him to be taking a course that has no relevance to him, his profession, or the real world in general. The class, of course, deals with building an argument based upon evidence for a targeted audience.

So, an encounter with non-carbon based, methane breathing, blue protoplasm coagulations which communicate by secreting mandallas on college-ruled bluebooks? No problem.


9 Responses to When the Aliens Contact Us

  1. j says:

    its always best to have a plan grumpybloggers.com

  2. The_Myth says:

    I find it oddly comforting whenever you post “alien” stories.

    I might not have felt so alone and upset had I known that others faced these issues every single semester.

    Whenever I told the people I worked with about these situation, they always pretended their students never did these things.

    I think they were in denial.

  3. […] differ; this can be worked with. No, it’s people whose smarts and talents are blocked or diverted somehow that buckle one’s knees and blur one’s […]

  4. Carl says:

    I recently received a paper in a freshman orientation class in which the definition and discussion of plagiarism were plagiarized.

  5. Dale says:

    This is evidence to me that Fate spends too much time watching Monty Python.

  6. Carl says:

    You’re so right. When it all implodes back to the primordial black hole we’ll pop back out into the guts of an iguana.

  7. Dr. Davis says:

    I love teaching and my students can be the most brilliant and creative people around… and they can be very goofy aliens. Dichotomous.

  8. […] differ; this can be worked with. No, it’s people whose smarts and talents are blocked or diverted somehow that buckle one’s knees and blur one’s […]

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