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Author Topic: What is the most insulting comment a professor has ever written on your work?  (Read 13730 times)

-Karamazov-

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Inspired by a facebook group that was recently created.

When I was in high school and we were being introduced to MLA format and using quotes and citations, I went a little overboard on the first paper.  The first paper I got back said "This in an excellent paper, it is too bad that it was not written by you.  Paraphrase or summarize all those quotes instead on the next paper or you will fail."  I got a C on the paper, and we had a class the next day devoted to paraphrasing and summarizing multiple sources.

Also, my group and I recently got back our management paper from our professor.  It was a group paper and one of the kids was incredibly late in submitting it to the rest group.  He gave it to us at about 3 am, and the report was due at 8.  When we got the paper back, the teacher had bracketed this kid’s section and wrote “I know you wrote this 6 hours before it was due because that is what your citation say they were accessed at.  Next time read over your work and using something other than internet sources, because this section cannot stand on its own.”  We ended up getting an 87 on it, most of the point deducted were because of this kid’s section.
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tania

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Not to sound mysoginist, but I hate women.

0bsessions

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"Tommydskian."
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Jace

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There was nothing written on the paper, I was just called to the administrators office during my next class.
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Katherine

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We ended up getting an 87 on it, most of the point deducted were because of this kid’s section.

Your professor is an idiot.  There is no reason that the rest of the group should be punished for one person's slackassery.
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-Karamazov-

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Welcome to the college of business, where team work is paramount.  We are given the opportunity to "fire" anyone who slacks off.  In exchange for this freedom, we receive group grade rather than individual.

We gave the kid another chance at the next paper, and he did much better work.  So we didn't need to fire him.
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Lines

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I've gotten bad grades on group projects before. Even when the teacher knew that one of the people was sick until the last day and the other kid never showed up until the last day. (There were four of us.) It sucks to get a lower grade because people slack off, but it happens.

I had a professor tell me once that a response to a short story was lazy. But then again, it was true, because I wanted to see what I could and could not get away with in that class.
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öde

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"A promising start, please hand in the rest by next week" or some variation.

It wasn't insulting though, it was sincere. The fact that I faced no repercussions whenever I didn't hand in the rest destroyed what little faith I had in college.
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Ladybug

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I haven't had a teacher say anything really insulting about my work, I think, but then again, during the years where we actually got other feedback than a grade or "Ok. Approved.", I mostly got good grades and stuff. My history teacher one year was an asshole, though, and kept yawning, doodling, staring out the window and sending text messages during everyone's presentations, which was insulting, but mostly just because he was a prick, not because he insulted our/my work. He did say stuff like "I found your presentation to be sleep-inducing and not very informative.", but I sort of just chalked that up to the prick-thing.

And yeah, bad grades due to group work sucks, but it's sort of...to be expected, I guess. Once in 9th grade, I was on a group with 3 out of the 5 worst slackers in the entire year, plus one other guy. Fun times! They'd give us a 2 (on a scale from 1-6) if all members weren't present during a presentation, so the other non-slacker and I spent 3 hours looking for one of group members (this was before everyone had cell phones :o), who had decided to just lay down to sleep in the locker room, only to have him say "This is our presentation" and nothing else during the presentation. I am so glad I'm at uni now, in a program where people are actually above average interested in school and actually care about making the group look good and not ruining it for everyone else.
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Barmymoo

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It wasn't written on my work but my maths teacher at GCSE, when told that I was hoping to take a maths degree and become a secondary school teacher, laughed scornfully and said I wasn't even going to pass the GCSE let alone A levels and a degree.

I got an A. But I am now going to take Law instead.
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

yelley

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"please see me after class, we need to talk" on a paper i wrote about my complete lack of religious faith when the topic was to explain how this class has strengthened your catholic faith. turns out he wanted to set up faith counseling sessions with me.

"D-" on a paper i wrote about the pro-choice campaign when the topic was to present your argument for or against abortion. why put in the 'for' option is they don't want to read the answer? stupid ta.... took it to the prof and he gave me an A.
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Jace

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I kind of feel bad now because I WAS that guy that slacked off in groups. Like, I went to sleep the day of our presentation and actually said "no, fuck you guys" when they kept telling me to come up to the front.

Passed that class with a C though, never did any work, slept all the time, passed with a C.

I love education.
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-Karamazov-

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"please see me after class, we need to talk" on a paper i wrote about my complete lack of religious faith when the topic was to explain how this class has strengthened your catholic faith. turns out he wanted to set up faith counseling sessions with me.

"D-" on a paper i wrote about the pro-choice campaign when the topic was to present your argument for or against abortion. why put in the 'for' option is they don't want to read the answer? stupid ta.... took it to the prof and he gave me an A.

Did you go to a hardcore private catholic school?  Giving someone a bad grade simply because they have a different opinion, that's horrific. 
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Scrambled Egg Machine

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I never really got anything horrific put on my paper, but my friend got some odd comment on his last history paper.  He had to take a swing at a section of history and discuss something about it, using citation and such to reason his conclusion.  The teacher outright told him he did not agree with his paper and told him to do it again.
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0bsessions

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In actuality, though not quite taken as an insult, my sophomore English teacher wrote the following on a test I took on an Ayn Rand book (Paraphrased):

"Jon, I know for a fact this was completely B.S.ed. I saw you looking over a summary before class. That said, B.S.ing people is a legitimate life skill and this was extremely well writen B.S. I am all about learning experiences. What I've learned here is to make my tests harder, please try to avoid learning that nobody cheats me twice."

I still managed a 110 on the test through an extra credit essay question (The aforementioned well written B.S.). I don't think I ever actually read a single book in that class before the test, though I did read a couple of the required reading assignments after the tests as a result of being intrigued by the test questions.

That teacher was awesome.
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Barmymoo

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It wasn't me who had it but in Religious Studies one year, we had to write about our beliefs about death. In response to the question "do you  believe that it is possible to die too young?" my friend wrote that if children die, it is too young as they haven't had time to live their lives.

The teacher failed her and wrote "God decides when people die, and it is always the right time".

I do not object to her believing that. But I do object to her teaching it. It was a compulsory class about different religions and their beliefs, not about her personal beliefs and how they were the only ones to have.
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

Liz


Jesus shit. That is horrible.
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Lines

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I kind of feel bad now because I WAS that guy that slacked off in groups. Like, I went to sleep the day of our presentation and actually said "no, fuck you guys" when they kept telling me to come up to the front.

I am glad you were never in my groups. I am the kind of group member who turns into the drill sergeant when people don't do their share. This is mostly because I hate working in groups with people I don't know, especially for classes that are electives and therefore I don't know any of my group members outside of this one class, if I ever even talk to them at all.

If I ever become a teacher, I doubt I will have group projects. If I do, I will not to group average grades, because they are STUPID.
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Jace

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 I am the kind of group member who turns into the drill sergeant when people don't do their share.



There would have been frequent arguments with me. With most of them ending in "you know how much I don't care?"
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Blue Kitty

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When someone pulled the "You know how much I don't care" thing with any member of a group I was in, we made the time we had to work with them a living hell or just generally ostracized them.  One time we actually made a kid leave class crying after some of the group had a bad day.
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JD

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I haven't got anything really bad. I have written a short story the night before it was due. I lost sleep but got an A the next day.

Wacky, huh?
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Social Bacon

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I hate group work. If people don't do their fair share of the work I'll just do it all. Actually, I usually just do it all anyways because I don't trust anyone else to do it and am much happier relying on myself.

I had one sociology teacher tell me my opinion about mental health institutions was wrong. But she also wrote "watch your grammer" on that paper, so I wasn't very worried.
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toohey

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I had a creative writing teacher write "You make me hate my life" on a paper. In all fairness that may have been the intention...
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Elizzybeth

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One professor crossed out my entire introductory paragraph in red and wrote, "Totally re-imagine the intro. See me on this," and when I did, he told me that it was way too general, the paper never really went anywhere, and overall my writing could use tightening.  I was in my third year as an English major and had just started working in the University Writing Center: writing was my whole life, and it hurt to be told I was bad at it.  But I really liked him as a professor, so I ended up taking two more classes with him (and, ultimately, getting a letter of recommendation for graduate school from him)--my writing DID improve a lot.  It's still terrifying, though, to see a gigantic red X over your first page when you get a paper back.

Another professor, in a GE sociology course, accused me of plagiarism because he didn't believe I was smart enough to use as many three- and four-syllable words as I did.  Or something.
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Jace

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I had a teacher give me a test back and say "I don't think you got a single thing right on this." She made me work on the test more. I still didn't get anything right.
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Lines

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I had a test like that once. But the class was a 500 level class required for sophomores and the test was fucking ridiculous. Luckily, she let us take them home and redo them.
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Jace

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Mine was a spanish 1 test.
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ampersandwitch

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I win at this.

C- on a paper about Machiavelli.  He drew a giant flower on the front page, because he thought it was 'too flowery.'  On the final page he drew a giant question mark because he wasn't assed to understand my conclusion properly.  His comments on the back consisted of 'This paper is not one that can be accepted as worthy of this university, or any university course for that matter.'  When I emailed him about it, he said 'I use the spirogram method for my flowers!  It sort of gives them a mass produced feel, doesn't it?   Do you wish I'd spent more time on it?'

Fucking bizarre. 

ETA
Oh and another funny one was this time in Junior year when I didn't have the motivation to do the assignment in High School, so I waited until the last minute and just wrote whatever the hell I felt like, banking on my flowery script (at the time; my handwriting has changed a lot over the years) to deter any close reading.  Unfortunately, the assignment was a Dear John letter during the Civil War, and the way I entertained myself was by making it bawdy as all hell.  The teacher circled the whole thing in red pen and wrote at the bottom 'SETTLE DOWN ;o)'

Actually that would have been fine from any other teacher, but this guy was weird.  He probably thought the same of me, to be honest.
« Last Edit: 10 Nov 2008, 14:37 by ampersandwitch »
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nobo

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"Nonsense" written in a red marker/crayon

Not too many chances for creative criticism in engineering classes
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Well yes but (sorry andy) she doesn't look half as fucking bad ass as this motherfucker in Poland.

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I usually can't read a thing that lecturers or teachers write on my essays. We're told that we can go talk to them after the class to ask about it, but I'm always too afraid that the comments are rubbish! But I have had a teacher refuse to take in anything I had handwritten because he couldn't read it so I guess it works both ways! I understand though, my handwriting is truely rubbish. God bless computers.

Whenever we had group work to do we always had to fill in a form at the end to say what we thought about working in a group and how well we worked together. That was the time we would write whether or not people had done f all on the project and the teacher would mark it accordingly if all of the group said someone hadn't been contributing.

And I miss American work. I used to be able to write an essay the night before and get 98%. Now I'm back in England and I'm desperately hoping for a 60+ on the essay I just handed in which I put a lot more effort into!! I'm looking forward to seeing if I can read any of the feedback I get...

Speaking of which... I should really be working right now. *sigh*
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I think I'll take a nap now...

vegkitkat

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I had a teacher who wouldn't put x's by wrong answers, but instead ?'s. It always felt as if he was saying: this is so wrong I have no idea why you put this as the answer. He was one of my favorite teachers.
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ampersandwitch

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And I miss American work.

You know it really depends on which schools you go to.  Not sayin', just sayin'
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Edith

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I have a few memorable ones, although none are really insulting.

I had a philosophy professor who never gave me a grade higher than an A--/B++. Yes, the whole thing was the grade.

I had a first year intro to college type class that required a ten-page paper. There were no font specifications given in those days, so I used Courier 12pt, which is a fairly large typeface. I also put an extra space between every word. The prof wrote "I am not sure why you are using this odd font."

During my last year of high school, every single teacher chose the following multiple choice comments for my report card: "A PLEASURE TO TEACH. CAPABLE OF BETTER WORK."

In my college Shakespeare course, we were required to complete two of three major assignments, and could choose one to not do. I chose not to do two of them. I then figured out that the only way I could pass the course would be to write an absolutely flawless final exam. I lived near the professor and ended up walking home at the same time he did a few days after the exam. "Edith," he said. "It is a downright shame I cannot give you a higher grade than a C in the courthe, becauthe your ethay ith the betht one I have ever read by an undergraduate thtudent. I have never given any thtudent one hundred perthent on a final ectham until you." (yeah, he had a wicked lisp)

I'm a slacker. I really am capable of better work. At pretty much everything.
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Ozymandias


Underachieving high five! o_

This is the first semester of my entire college career I've applied myself, because I did so bad last semester that I was suspended. I've gone from a solid 2.0 GPA student to 4.0 as if by magic. The academic counselor basically told me to stop coming to see her because seeing her every week was part of the terms of my readmittance because she expected to need to tutor me.
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Edith

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_o low five?
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Jimmy the Squid

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In highschool my year coordinator was asking everyone what they planned to do after they finished so they could advise them on what electives to take. When I said that I wanted to be a psychologist he just smiled and said "James, I don't think you're smart enough to do that. In fact I can categorically say you will never be accepted into that kind of course. Do you have any other...achievable ambitions?" Dude was an utter cunt.

When I was in my final year of my BA I got 56% on an essay for my Social Processes and Behaviour class. The comments said "Most of my first year studets can reference better than you can. I don't understand how you've made it this far if this is the quality of work you put in. You're writing style is good and with effort it could be great but you haven't written nearly enough. I know I said you have to be concise but I still want you to write to the word limit." I felt pretty terrible because this guy was my favourite lecturer.
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ampersandwitch

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This is the first semester of my entire college career I've applied myself, because I did so bad last semester that I was suspended. I've gone from a solid 2.0 GPA student to 4.0 as if by magic.


 :-D

(read: I hate my GPA, and my life)
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ViolentDove

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In highschool my year coordinator was asking everyone what they planned to do after they finished so they could advise them on what electives to take. When I said that I wanted to be a psychologist he just smiled and said "James, I don't think you're smart enough to do that. In fact I can categorically say you will never be accepted into that kind of course. Do you have any other...achievable ambitions?" Dude was an utter cunt.

Well, you are a cephalopod. I think it's pretty remarkable you're even typing on a computer, really.
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ampersandwitch

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"James, I don't think you're smart enough to do that. In fact I can categorically say you will never be accepted into that kind of course. Do you have any other...achievable ambitions?" Dude was an utter cunt.

Actually my guidance counselor told me when I told her that I wanted to go to Wellesley that I 'don't have a shit in the chute' of getting in.  Not only was it insulting, but it was also true, and I don't even think it's a real phrase.

Man.
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est

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Pretty much every report card I got had some variation on the old "could do better if he applied himself" routine.  Do they just write that shit on everyone's cards or what?
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Tom

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Actually, that's what all my teacher wrote about me for year 11.
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jhocking

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Your professor is an idiot.  There is no reason that the rest of the group should be punished for one person's slackassery.

Conversely, I've always found it annoying when people whine about the unfairness of their grade being affected by their team members. Tell the teacher about problem team members certainly, but the time to deal with problems is BEFORE the project is due, not after; be proactive, don't be a whiner.

Sorry folks, in the real world you gotta deal with other people's shit, so in your group projects you are learning (among other things) how to deal with other people's shit. You are a team, and you get graded as a team. I mean, if the performance of other people in your group shouldn't affect your grade, then why even do a group project? Why not simply have each person turn in their own paper?

I remember once when she was studying for her MBA, my fiancee went on a rant one night about how one person in her group was a slacker and not doing their share of the work, and the project was due on Monday (it was the weekend.) I nodded along, sympathizing, because I've certainly been there and it is extremely frustrating. When she was done ranting she took a deep breath and asked, "So what should I do?" I responded, "Well, you should do the work." I mean, in the long term you want to avoid working with the slacker again, and probably communicate that fact to the teacher, but in the short term you have a paper to do.

Again, think of the real-world: If you have to work together with other people in your department to prepare a report for the board or something, then if the report sucks you all get chewed out. Whine all you want about whether or not it's fair, but that's how it is, so learn to deal with it. The time to complain to your manager about slackers on the team is as soon as the problem is apparent, not after the board has seen the finished report.


What I wish is not that teachers were more "fair" in grading group members, but that more teachers were explicit about the point of group projects. That is, they directly state up-front that because group projects are for you to learn to work in a group, your grade is in part a reflection of how well your group functions.

I also wish teachers taught a bit more directly how to function in groups rather than simply expect people to figure it out on their own, but then it's mostly common sense sort of stuff that people just seem to forget.



On a closely related note, people also whine about it being unfair if they can't choose their own group members. There are compelling arguments both ways, but personally I prefer randomly-formed groups for group projects in classes. This is a view I've had crystallized from classes I've taken but note that I haven't enforced this in any classes that I've taught. I have a couple anecdotes to share about this too, but I don't really want to rant here too much (at least not right now, heh.)
« Last Edit: 10 Nov 2008, 22:30 by jhocking »
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Liz


Joe Hocking, what is the most insulting comment you have ever written on someone's work?
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Jace

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On my report cards from about 8th grade to 12th grade, I had some variant of "great personality, horrible student"

Every single one of my teachers loved me as a person, I was generally 20% (random statistic) higher than the rest of the class on an intellectual level, so I could actually talk to them about stuff and they'd understand the point I was making, but goddamn if I wasn't a slacker.
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jhocking

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Joe Hocking, what is the most insulting comment you have ever written on someone's work?

Actually I've ruminated several times on how I'm not hard enough on people. I mean, I probably don't want to go to the extreme of telling someone their piece looks like garbage (although when I once had a teacher tell me that in a crit, it was a valuable wake-up call) but I really should hold people more accountable. Thing is, at SAIC in particular it's pretty easy for me to just let people slide, since there aren't any grades. In the short term it can be painful of course to get harsh feedback, but in the long term not giving someone harsh feedback when they deserve it is just teaching them that it's okay to be a slacker and/or do shitty work.

Basically, I tend to be somewhat ruthless about how my students are doing, but I'm not ruthless in the sense of yelling at them or insulting them or whatever, but in the sense that I expect people to motivate themselves, so if someone is not trying very hard then I simply let them fail. I gotta change that.

"A promising start, please hand in the rest by next week" or some variation.

It wasn't insulting though, it was sincere. The fact that I faced no repercussions whenever I didn't hand in the rest destroyed what little faith I had in college.

I really wish more people were like you, and expect to be held accountable, as opposed to the majority of students who seem genuinely shocked that not doing the assignments has a detrimental affect on their grade.
« Last Edit: 10 Nov 2008, 22:35 by jhocking »
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Trollstormur

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jhocking

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I had a creative writing teacher write "You make me hate my life" on a paper. In all fairness that may have been the intention...

I am so tempted to use this line sometime.

David_Dovey

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It wasn't a written comment but I had my lecturer tell me my acoustic recording was "bizarre" upon handing it back to me. I'm pretty sure the written comments I've received have several times had words to the effect of "did you do [insert technique here] on purpose?".
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RedLion

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I'm trying to think, but honestly I personally have never had a negative grade on a paper that I've written by myself. My writing has always been praised by all my teachers/professors, and is something that I'm extremely proud of. I'm sure I'll get a wake-up call one day in the form of a prof. saying a paper I write is shit, though.

HOWEVER,

when it comes to group work, I write my section well, and then make absolutely no attempt to coordinate it with others. Just a few days ago, I was in a group and we were acting as a consulting firm of sorts, for the government of Kenya, advising them on how to stabilize their political and economic situation. My prof. started writing comments on the margins like normal but after the first few pages, they disappeared. "That's weird," my group thought. We got to the end, and he wrote, in all caps "WHAT IS WITH YOUR STRUCTURE? I HAD TO STOP WRITING COMMENTS BECAUSE, DUE TO YOUR LACK OF COORDINATION BETWEEN THE SEGMENTS YOU WROTE AS INDIVIDUALS, YOUR PAPER JUMPS ABOUT LIKE A SCHIZOPHRENIC MOUSE."
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