Every class has its ups and downs. These professors and teaching assistants talk about some of the worst assignments they've ever had to mark. Enjoy!
1. Actual professor here. I've taught a bunch of different classes that required essays. My favorites include a paper on Taoism, which was completely blank. It would have been cute had a dozen students not tried that before. I get it, but you still have to write the damn paper.
The worst was in a composition class where a student asked for special permission to write her paper on her culture. I agreed, mostly so I would get to read something not on the same boring five topics I was forced to assign. The student turns in the rough draft and the paper is literally a copy/paste from a tourism website, so I turn the student in for a plagiarism violation (after trying to reach out to the student multiple times).
Guess what the student turns in for the final? The exact. Same. Paper. That's two plagiarism violations in one term in case anyone is counting. Needless to say, the student was given a zero in my course and most likely expelled from the university.
2. I was a TA for a class one time. A sophomore girl wrote an entire 8 page paper on the use of color in early Islamic architecture except there was one problem - all of her examples were Buddhist temples located in east Asia.
3. Hard to choose the WORST, but here are a few that really made me scratch my head...
I once had a student who said the biggest issue facing obese (male) children is that they have small penises. Not ONE of the issues, but the BIGGEST issue. I suppose the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and the potential for issues with confidence and bullying pale in comparison to small genitalia in pre-pubescent males.
In the same class a student wrote that single women were at significant risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection from masturbation. The student was in her twenties.
I teach marketing and they were health-related campaigns. Also, the students were both from Asian countries (studying at an Australian university). I don't know if the country/region where they completed their high school education is relevant, but I do have anecdotal evidence to suggest that international students from Asian countries are more likely to make comments like these.
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