Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Behold the Greatest Student Email Ever Sent! A Reflection on the Joys of Academia

I finished my teaching for the quarter today. After leaving class I went into the bathroom. What did I see? A fifth of Jack Daniels sitting used, spent, and helpless in the toilet. Is there any better metaphor for the state of higher education with its listless anti-intellectual students, the budget crises, hiring freezes, helicopter parents and entitled snowflakes than the above photo?

To this point, we have seen faculty shoot and kill their tenure committees, "racial incidents" at UCSD, an adjunct being fired for describing his status as a contract employee as equivalent to being a "nigger on a corporate plantation," and a facebooking professor put on permanent leave for venting that she sometimes wanted to kill her students.

Oh the joys of academia. One should not forget that these joys are the sum total of many small pleasures. Just as I shared the video of my friend ranting at his class full of ignt's, what follows is the greatest student email I have ever read (it was sent to me from a colleague back East. All names have been removed to protect the innocent). Enjoy and smile for these are the leaders of tomorrow!

The Greatest Snowflake Student Email Ever Sent

I am going to try my hardest to write you this email in response to the recent grade received on my paper, without reflecting the anger that I feel as a result. I would like to first express my respect for you and every other teacher that has placed their energy into educating me and my peers, as we all know that teachers are often the unappreciated foundation of our future. However, I must express a slight amount of disrespect, as I do not agree with your perception of my paper one bit. I recently read an article about Bill Gates and the steps he took as he dropped out of Harvard. What I found so interesting was that he had the confidence to leave his schooling behind for the other students that really needed it, as he realized that he had more important things to accomplish in life than to argue with teachers about grades on papers, as we all now know what thoughts he had storming in his mind.

You commented that I had probably the best example, to the assigned question, out of all the students participating. However, you also said that I did not complete the assignment as instructed, because I did not explain with the proper support from the text book literature pertaining to the two gentlemen of which the entire assignment pertained to. I beg to differ on your opinion of my interpretation of the assignment. Proffessor, what you fail to realize is that my story explains the topic in so much detail, that being specific is not in my nature as a writer, or a mathotical student. You see if I was to follow the path as the other students, I would have never gained the respect and admiration of my past teachers. What you failed to realize is that I understand the topic in greater depth than any of the other students. So much so, that I had a smile on my face writing this paper knowing that only an A student would understand my direction. The fact that I knew the topic so thouroughly, that I was able to visualize an event in history that explained the different mindsets of the two philosophers at hand, that it needed no explanation, besides an in depth detailed visual summary of a World War 2 event, that created an anaoly of the two philosopys that needed no explanation. You see the leaders of the two countries show the details that separate their ideology creating a mirror reflection of Mills and Rousseaus’s philosophys with regards to social justice. How ironic is it that justice is not seen by the instructor of a class about the exact topic that leads me to this email.

The paper is so methodically written, that it needs no explaniation. I am so disappointed that you do not understand or see that. Do you seriously think that I don’t understand the topic inside and out? You are so mistaken, as I understood it enough to come up with an example that so vividly creates a perfect analogy to the difference between Mills and Rousseau. That paper is written to perfection whether you understand it or not! The leaders of our country and Japan created a stamp in history that is flawed just as any theory of justice by anyone will never be perfect. Don’t you get it Professor? How do you not see that the government morals and ideas of the U.S. and Japan can directly reflect the differences between Mills and Rousseau? It is clear as day to any person that understands good writing. I am an A student and that is an A paper, and always will be to me. I read some of the other students papers, and to me they were nonsense written to fill pages. I will apologize for this email if you can produce one paper written for this assignment that can come close to competing with the ideas in my paper. I can only dream of having someone like Bill Gates give me advice for this situation. But I will still go on to follow the path that God has paved for me regardless of your opinion, because I already had the guideness I needed to help me visualize my purpose. I want my grade changed, and I am sorry if I offend you by this email, but I put my heart and sole into my education and I believe in myself even if you don't. -


Werner Herzog's Bear said...

That picture is worth a million words.

chaunceydevega said...

That it is mr bear. Question though, it would be nice to know if it was a celebratory drink or a drink of surrender and malaise.


Rachel in Missouri said...

Run of the mill entitlement or incipient mental illness? Probably the former, but finding a few too many connections that most people don't see...because they aren't a hallmark of thought disorders. So is what the psychiatrists like to call "grandiosity."

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Tell him that the far right wingers and Nazis do what he's done all the time. Maybe that will set him straight.

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...

@Rachel. Now you got me thinking about the undiagnosed mental health issues among our students for there are many--see how Asperbergers is all the rage now (perhaps exaggerated?).

@Trill--the little paranoids and egomaniacs do grow up to be Beck and Limbaugh.


SL said...

Not including the spelling typos in the email, I find this leter interesting. But here's the issue: Until we actually know what the assignment was and then read the paper he wrote, we do not even begin know if he is ass-backward in his assessment of himself and his paper of if he is spot on. I say this as having once been a student who once wrote a paper on culinary food evolution that hit the nails dead on and it upset, if not royally pissed off the instructer who more or less had insulting shitfits in front of me and the class on how I COULDN'T have written the A graded paper, so he wanted me to prove it. So I told him to come to my family home and verify it. He saw my library, my computer, my internet access, my research notes, my library books and then he met my physician father and saw our family wall of world travels. Then I gave him folders of things I had kept from high school and told him to read them if he was inclined. He was politer toward me after that, but he never apologized to me, not in private nor public. But I GOT and KEPT my A. Btw, this was in the mid 90s, in Chicago. I was the only Black in the class. Back when dial up was damn all there was and a pc was 1000s. Just saying.

the unreliable narrator said...

Fascinating document. I have received quite a few like them myself, over the semesters. In my current big-ass impersonal-state-university department, there's a policy in place to deal with disgruntled snowflakes: they can submit all of their work to the department to have it reevaluated, with the understanding that the grade may very well go DOWN after such an assessment.

I'm with the previous poster who said this person might also be not merely entitled out the wazoo but also on the verge of a manic/psychotic break. I've also had THAT happen in my classroom, and then afterward been able to look back and admit that there'd been many "tells" (as Joe Mantegna would say) leading up to the big lunatic event.

The instructor needs to report this student to her/his department, in any case, to start a paper trail before the back-and-forth gets any more heated. Because I don't know about Y'ALL'S ginormous state universities, but at mine some of the disgruntled snowflakes come with automatically reloading accessories.

Anonymous said...

Since the student put their "sole" into their education, is it safe to say that they put their foot in the paper, sorta like how my Big Momma used to put her foot in her sweet potato pies?

MilesEllison said...

Why can't the student spell?

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...

@SL--I have been where you are, i.e. doing good work and getting criticized for it. But, in dealing with these entitled snowflakes the problem is that they can do no wrong and they are a product of a system (and upbringing( where they honestly believe they can do no wrong.

@unreliable--I don't think my friend went to the administrators. But, you know, creating a paper trail may not be a bad thing. We see our share of crazy emails--I actually had a crazy, angry, embittered lazy student send me an email that questioned my competence and also that I must be an affirmative action hire who is not qualified to teach someone of his intelligence. But trust, the powers that be may not support you--even when you are right as rain.

@Miles--is that the teachers' failure to this point, the parents, who?


Buck said...

A red flag that this is a consequence of entitlement is the "I'm an A student."

My wife teaches at a small, expensive university populated almost exclusively by white upper middle class kids and I teach part-time at an 'urban' for-profit college with 90% of my students being black single moms going back to school.

Only once have I had the "But I'm an A student," whereas my wife gets it a couple of times a term.

blackstocking said...

When I was a TA, I got this nonsense off some of the snowflakes. And I do think that many of them do have undiagnosed mental disorders. One young man screamed me down after class. And yes, he was an 'A' student. Not used to having black women grade his papers.

I felt sorry for him because I truly believe that he was mental. Needless to say, I watched over my shoulder for him for the rest of my time on campus.

Worse were the entitlement snowflakes. The one who told us her mother said it was an 'A' paper was priceless. I wish we could have laughed in her face. Did her mother write the paper? Another snowflake tried to justify why he could use the n-word.

Oh, and the snowflakes said the most hateful things about us women and black women instructors and ta's. I console myself with my knowledge that their lives will end up being disapointing to them. When you dreams are so big and grand and you are a moron, there is no place to go but down.

Buck said...

blackstocking wrote: "When you dreams are so big and grand and you are a moron, there is no place to go but down."

Unless your last name is Bush. Sadly, many of these snowflakes will go on to nepotistic success.