Dirty Little Secret Revealed

You think it's easy being a college professor? Well, crossing my sexy legs for six hours created a serious varicose vein risk. And grading papers created eye/neck strain when my blonde hair fell forward and had to be tossed back. It was hard, hard work.

I’m going to reveal a dirty little secret about educators. Okay, this is a secret about me that may apply to other educators. When students made funny mistakes on their written assignments–the kind that made me laugh out loud and forget the pain of grading piles of papers–I photocopied the gaffes and put them in a special folder. Whenever I needed a good laugh–like after a faculty meeting when we resolved to table a 90-minute debate over a comma versus a semi-colon–I’d pull out my Student Bloopers folder and engage in chuckle-therapy.

Is this mean-spirited? Maybe. Aren’t educators supposed to be compassionate? Of course. I corrected their mistakes and gave them another chance to submit their papers. But, come on. These bloopers were like finding real gold after panning a fool’s gold river for days. Would you throw the precious nuggets back?

Look at him. Is he wrong for wanting a little reward for all of his hard work? Okay, so a college professor is not exactly like a filthy, down-on-his-luck prospector. Picky, picky, picky...

It’s time when young people are heading back to college and when professors are preparing for the migration of students back to their classrooms. Let’s start off the academic year with a bit of levity. I’m sharing a bit of my Student Blooper collection.

(NOTE: All grammatical, spelling, and other errors are the students’. Read them carefully.)

  • In an essay about the Taliban: “Also the leaders of the Taliban demand that no women should show their faces in public or else they will be killed or even beat to death.”

    Burka Barbie better watch out. She's gonna get killed or beaten to death, whichever comes first.

  • Documenting the efficacy of America’s educational system: “I think the U.S. system of education is fine. I say this because I have been educated soley  in the U.S. and I feel pretty smart.”

    At least I done grad-ee-ated from obedience school.

  • Describing the effects of rape on the victim: “Memories are a hard thing to forget.”

    I'm trying to forget my memories...or am I trying to...Oh look, a photographer!

  • Describing issues related to women in the workplace: “And older women are being told of new cases and experiments with their bodies such as menopause.”

    Dok-tor, doo yoo tink dis vil contain da hot flashes und relax her ven she is cranky? Ya? Yoo are a genius!

  • Debating capital punishment: “You could be punished to death with the crime of cheating people when selling them beer. The means of execution were burning, frowning, and impaling on sharp sticks.”

    Look at me and prepare to die, you cheating beer merchant!

  • Describing a primitive jungle culture: “The elder people are content with what they do, and the children play carelessly in the streets.”

    Some anthropologist probably had a magazine with this ad, and the rest is history.

  • Describing Domestic Violence Intervention programs: “But each case is different and can be referred to individual counseling or what’s needed in that case. If the case wasn’t cut clear then both parties should be in the program, because it takes two to tangle.”

    They look pretty tangled up to me...

  • Analyzing the drug problem: “Marijuana users can cum on a daily basis while the dealers have to wait for customers every day.”

    Oh, baby, that's what I'm talkin' bout.

  • Conclusion of a paper about sexual abuse: “To conclude this paper I would have to say that this is a subject that I really enjoy because it makes me realize what kind of sick world we live in.”

    After researching this paper on sexual abuse, I feel so great! I think I'll blow something up to celebrate this wacky world I call "home."

  • In a paper arguing the merits of euthanasia: “Notice above how good death is in quotes; I’m assuming that the quotations cause the great debate about euthanasia since most people today believe that quotations show some hidden meaning.”
  • Opening line in a paper for my Social Problems class: “This paper before you is one that should concern every single person on the face of the earth.”

    Should I send this paper to the FBI? CIA? NATO? English Department?

Are you interested seeing more pearls of wisdom from college students who were supposed to have graduated from high school and passed basic English?

~ by Lorna's Voice on August 27, 2011.

49 Responses to “Dirty Little Secret Revealed”

  1. They sure did making reading all those essays a bit less tiresome! Glad you liked them. 🙂

  2. Totally loved these, Lorna. I will be sharing your post with some educator friends. Especially snorted my tea over the drug abuse comment! Then there’s your incredible talent for sharing the perfect visual & quip! My mother-the-teacher confessed in her 80s that it was “the rotten little deevils” she remembered.

  3. […] Dirty Little Secret Revealed is the beginning of a three-part series in which I shared real college student bloopers I collected over my years of grading sociology papers and essay exams. […]

  4. […] the last on my student college student essay bloopers? If you missed the first two posts, check out Dirty Little Secret Revealed and Dude, You Actually Read What I Wrote? The disclaimers are the same: all these are real quotes […]

  5. Yes, that one is a classic! Glad you enjoyed the post!

  6. Oh heavens, those are awful.

    Don’t feel bad, I’ve done the same thing. We would often share them, teacher to teacher, and laugh as a group. My personal favorite was from a student who asserted that Hester Prynne served as “an escape goat” for the people of Salem Village in _The Scarlet Letter_. That never gets old…

  7. Oh, I’m glad! Sometimes I feel guilty that I did this (hence the “dirty little secret). I’ll be sharing more soon.

  8. If I’d been a teacher I think I’d have done the same and, yes, I’d like to see more!

  9. You just can’t make this stuff up!

  10. Yes, me too.

  11. I don’t know, those “quotation marks” always portend something nefarious… 😉

    Stay tuned for much more of these student bloopers.

  12. Google Images is my BFF! Glad you liked the post and thanks for dropping by. Hope to see you again!

  13. So glad you had some “chucke-therapy” as well! Stay tuned for more!

  14. Yes, we call them “teachable moments” and I didn’t let them slide by–I used them to help students. Now I’m using them for “chuckle-therapy” for more than just me.

  15. I’m glad another educator “approves” of sharing these. More will be coming!

  16. As someone who has spent her whole career in higher education, I LOVED this post! Thanks for the grins. I remember reading a book that was a compilation of these sorts of “student bloopers” years ago – it was hilarious. Don’t think it is mean at all to get a chuckle out of these. As Jimmy Buffett said, “if we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane : )”

  17. Luved it! And most definitely want to read more goofs. It is the mistakes of people that allows everyone to learn.

  18. Hahaha! My parents were teachers and every year we pull out a photocopy of a note from her student’s mother. It says something along the lines of, “You bitch. I caint beleeve you is yellin at my dawter for not doing her homework. Just call me and I will tell you to f*ck off. There.” Guess that answers the nature/nurture question in one fell swoop.

  19. Hahahaha, hilarious!! Absolutely loved it!

  20. Some pictures are very interesting!! especially the dog ass wear the glasses!! lol!

  21. LOL! I needed some “chuckle-therapy” tonight! Thank you – and of course I’d like to read more!

    P.S. There’s no hidden meaning behind these quotation marks. LOL

  22. Loved this post! It made me remember those papers I’d be reading in those years before I retired. 🙂

  23. Enjoyed this post. It reminds me of all the comments I hear while at my job, cleaning common areas in apartment buildings. One remark that comes to mind was several years ago, I had gone out on the front porch for a moment, for a 2 minute break. When one of the tenants came out I said, “Isn’t the air so clear and crisp today Margaret?” She replied, “Yes! That’s why I come outside to smoke my cigarette!” Keep at your blog, it’s a pleasure to read! -L

  24. Funny! My head is spinning with all the redundancy and repetitiveness of your circular argument…

  25. And what a way to go!

  26. Trust me, the comic relief was much needed after hours of grading essays and research papers. I’m glad I had the forethought to photocopy them–names redacted, of course…

  27. I shall. I’ve collected quite a few over the years.

  28. I tried to maintain my professional integrity and have a bit of fun, too. Sometimes the balance is difficult. That’s why I waited for 5 years to release these treasures and I collected these over nearly 20 years of teaching. I don’t think the best CSI team could find who wrote these things!

  29. Photocopying student gaffes to a ‘blooper file’ to use as post-faculty meeting pep-pill? I’m with you, Lorna. Afterall, student confidentiality was honoured – “no names-no packdrill”. You corrected the gobbledygook and grabbed a slice of chuckle-therapy. Way to go, cheers catchul8r molly

  30. Yep quite a few of us at work are sick of this menopause experiment! These are classic, you have to share more.

  31. OMG won’t sleep tonight at all now giggling about these to myself… sure, more, it makes me feel great… I don’t feel so terrible about all my bloopers here on my blog now, LOL Sounds like great comic relief for the markers and now we benefit, too. Thank you for the riotous read 🙂

  32. I love the frowning penguin, that look certainly could kill you, with laughter.

  33. These are great! I can’t wait to read more.

    Some of them remind me of what I’d write in papers when I came up against the dreaded “meet the required word count or perish”. I’d always overcome that by dazzling the professor. Example: “In this primary source, we find the author offering a specious and circular argument which becomes, in the end, repetitive, redundant and says the same thing over and over again.”

    I’m pretty sure I got a lot of A’s from dazzling. Or being so confusing I was given a “pity A.”

  34. Yes, college students–and not just Freshmen. Makes you wonder, at least it made me wonder. I had many a discussion with the English faculty. They scratched their heads and blamed the high schools. I made sure to go over these essays or research papers with my students so that they could learn from their mistakes. The buck had to stop somewhere.

    And I’ve used the phrase, “It takes two to tangle.” ever since I read that blooper. It’s so much better than the original phrase–makes me think of Tigger!

  35. You got it!

  36. Everyone makes mistakes. I sure did and do. I don’t even know the students who made these gaffes because I blotted out the names before I photocopied them–just to make sure they were anonymous in case anyone else found the folder.

    I wonder if most teachers keep these kinds of things…

  37. There were “aha” moments during my class. I made sure to privately go over their papers and show them how to write a proper essay/research paper and how to proof-read their work. For me, teaching was a passion, not just a job. I hope most students left my class with better writing and thinking skills.

  38. I have a folder full of this stuff. And I didn’t pick the best ones–just the ones on top. I could generate several more posts from my Student Blooper folder. Just ask, and you shall receive…

  39. These are all from student papers–exactly as I read them. I swear on my Ph.D.! Do you see why I loved teaching so much? Memories…yes, they are hard to forget!

  40. C’mon, Lorna, quit it. You had me laughing so hard it hurt, so I was considering euthanasia by throwing myself on a sharp stick. It’s this kind of sick humor that everyone in the world should be concerned with. I’m going to try to forget I read it but..well…you know how memories can be.

  41. Please! Keep this kind of topic as a regular! I’d say keep it cumming, but well, it’s not marijuana. I mean, this post just killed me, and even after it killed me, I laughed to death. So much better than dying by frowning, for sure!

  42. Hopefully, there was an aha moment later during their college career. I sure hope so.

  43. “The means of execution were burning, frowning, and impaling on sharp sticks.” I think that one was my favourite, but I guffawed at the marijuana one.

    I understand how some might take extreme offensive to what you’ve posted. Only because they either wrote the stuff or are of the group who would have! It’s all anonymous and really, if you can’t laugh at yourself, what good is being able to laugh? I would love to see some more. I wonder what kind of things my teachers kept that I wrote…..

  44. Thanks for making me laugh! I’d love to hear more.

  45. College students?! I would love to see more of these bloopers–I giggled out loud–great stress reliever!

    “…means of execution were burning, frowning …” (!!?)

    I think it does take two to “tangle”.

  46. It’s a sad way to leave this earth…

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope to see you again!

  47. I have a ton more to share. They’re too precious to keep for myself.

    My English teacher looked like a wizened angry prune. I learned A LOT from her!

  48. As an educator, I often get some pretty good ones, too. I never thought about collecting them. Since I usually grade papers at home I’ll have to fire up the old copier/printer/scanner. Those should be published!!!

    And if English instructors really looked like that I’ll bet my husband would have learned something about grammar – well, on second thought, he probably wouldn’t have. But he definitely would have gone to class more.

  49. I’ve always had nightmares about experiencing a death by frowning!

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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