As a student, do you get peeved when your professors require you to make insightful comments as a part of your participation grade?
Does it annoy you when they make you cite your sources instead of just pulling claims out of thin air?
Life as a student is rough with homework, balancing schedules and paying tuition, not to mention enduring our wizened professors. But what about the profs? Don’t kid yourself into thinking students can’t be freakishly annoying, too.
For mathematics professor Dr. Kim Jongerius, her biggest annoyance is sloppy homework. She said that since mathematical symbols take a lot of time to insert on a computer, she allows students to turn in written homework. Unfortunately “some students don’t seem to mind making me take a lot of extra time to decipher their work.” She said it’s such a hassle that “one messy paper in a stack of 20 or 30 can put me in a bad frame of mind for the whole time I’m grading that stack.”
Though she, too, understands that procrastination is bound to happen at times, in her time as a student she made a point never to let her own procrastination “lead to a messy result that added to someone else’s workload.” Now as a professional, she has reaped the benefits of establishing the habit. To all you messy math students, Jongerius advised, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth rewriting so that the result looks good.”
For professor Karen Bohm Barker of the theatre department, students who show up consistently late are most irksome. Like Jongerius, she can sympathize at times. She acknowledged that “everyone is late occasionally.” While she can understand it occurring once or twice, overall she sees tardiness as rather disrespectful to the whole class. Advice to all you theatre students: learn the art of punctuality.
To students everywhere, where have your writing skills gone? For Dr. Michael Kensak, his greatest pet peeve is trying to deal with students who have been strongly influenced by the age of technology. “Today, texting and e-mail have turned mechanical writing informal, and that has driven an informality in student writing,” he said. About a decade ago, apostrophes began “vanishing from places they should be and surfacing in places they should not. Over the last few years, question marks have followed the apostrophe and the dodo on the road to extinction,” said Kensak.
He said that while he can swallow the misuse of the apostrophe only because it was invented in the 18th century based on a mistaken interpretation of Old English, he cannot so easily accept having to constantly insert question marks in interrogatory sentences.
In the history department, Dr. Michael Kugler is most irritated by students who go to a liberal arts college like Northwestern and don’t expect to have to read a fair amount for his classes. Besides also being annoyed at students because he can’t teach from a bathing pool, he puzzles over how students will come to class only to do homework for another class.
He said, “Do they think that even when I notice that they are not paying attention—and I do—that I’ll still give them credit for their physical presence?” So to students all over campus, don’t whine about reading and don’t do other homework in class. Professors don’t like it. And if you should happen to do so, consider bringing your pet to class and they may not get so annoyed. At least in Dr. Kugler’s classroom, that is.