How to Avoid Learning and Fail the Course in Two Easy Not-My-Fault Steps

All this week in Paragraph City one of our writing faculty, Ernest Hemingwannabe, has been growling in the hallways, “I don’t teach writing any more. No, I teach ‘Read the blasted textbook.’ I teach ‘Come to cussed class, stupid darlings!’ I teach, ‘At least turn in some of your scribblings – you know, a piece of paper you writ stuff on?'”

EH doesn’t have a huge fan base here, but I sympathize with his frustration, and he’s on a rolling simmer only because somewhere in his hairy heart he wants these students he’s grousing about to pass the class, or at the very least to teach them something. That won’t happen though; apparently determined to fail, his students are seeing to that. This is how it’s done.

Don’t attend class. Or if you feel compelled to attend, go like every other class. Your goal here is to never be in class on both the day when an assignment is made and the day when it’s due: reading assignments, writing assignments, research. Repeat after me, “I’m sorry Mr. Hemingwannabe, but I didn’t know what we were supposed to do.” Very good.

On the other side of things, when an assignment is made be sure to diligently write it down and ask a question (How long should the paper be? Should we answer the questions in the book after we read that chapter?). Then cut class on the due dates. Repeat after me, “Assignment Mr. H? Oh that wasn’t due today was it? I have it at home. It’s a gooooood paper.”

[Faculty side conversation:] Look Ernie, just require their attendance – make it mandatory……Sniff-growl – these little darlings are adults now. If they’re so muddle-headed that I have to tell them they need to come to class, they deserve to fail……Now Ernie, little help protecting them from their own bad behaviors could make a big difference……And maybe I oughta write the papers for them, too?]

Don’t read, don’t write, and don’t submit anything associated with a grade. With any luck, your college has a learning management system where you can turn the paper in electronically. What do you say? “Oh, sure, I turned that in. Hmmmm, but I didn’t get a message that it was accepted, and when I tried to log on later my password didn’t work. Does that mean something, Mr. H?” Very good. For variety, blame a bad flash drive.

After a few missed deadlines, things will start to come to a head. Ask to meet with your prof in his office and come armed with a good excuse. Try something involving a family emergency that called you out of town, ideal if you can work this in with a weather emergency: flood, snowstorm, high wind, anything resulting in a loss of electricity. Cry a little (especially if you’re a guy). Ask for an extended deadline. Whatever the prof says, remember it this way: “Oh, I’m so sorry for you. Take however much time you need. Let me know when you’re ready to get back to work.”

In the last week of class you will need to tell your prof he said this. He may be surprised, but he won’t really remember what he said. Later, after you’ve failed the class, go to your prof’s dean and tell her the same thing. Go with a nice, specific story. Something involving your mom, perhaps, or a little brother. Remember to cry.

“Just give me a chance,” EH growls. “Read something. Write a little. I’ll teach the sumabitch how to write.”


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