Things I’m surprised I’ve had to tell students

The following items are quotes (or very close paraphrases) of things I’ve actually had to say to students over the years.

  • No, I cannot give you a hint on the exam question. Even if you ask three times. And, yes, I know that you probably would have gotten the answer if I had given you a hint.

  • Just because you worked really hard doesn’t mean that you will do well on an assignment.

  • It is spelled ‘ludicrous’, not ‘ludacris’—unless you’re talking about the hip hop artist.

  • Please do not use sms abbreviations in your papers.

  • I don’t think invoking the abortion debate will clarify people’s positions on [this unrelated debate].

  • You aren’t required to put my name on your paper, but if you do, please spell it correctly.

  • “It is safe to assume” does not mean “I really need this to be true, but I don’t have any justification for it.”

  • We don’t refer to human reproduction as “breeding,” so maybe “if we feed them, they will breed” is a problematic response to an argument about famine relief.

  • Since you didn’t actually address the question, what grade do you think you should get on this paper?

  • Other than X being cruel and immoral, no, I guess I don’t have any objections to it.

  • Getting a B+ on this one exam in “Intro to Philosophy” won’t preclude you from succeeding in life.

  • If I needed a [insert better grade than one about to be received] to [achieve some important end like keep a scholarship], I probably would have treated my schoolwork as if my [important end] depended on my getting a [high grade].