Thirteen things I’m sick of saying to my students:
1. Don’t start sentences with “So.”
2. Don’t start sentences with prepositions – they are meant to connect words, phrases, or clauses, not to introduce a new idea.
3. Break your writing into paragraphs, please. One long paragraph is unacceptable. One long sentence is grounds for justifiable homicide.
4. Proofread your writing before you submit it to me. Better yet, have someone ELSE proofread it. Make the corrections that proofreading suggests.
5. Don’t include words or phrases like “ya know?” or “anyhoo” in writing you are submitting for a grade. Try to write in a professional voice.
6. Spell out “at,” “you,” “with,” and “because” in writing you submit for a grade. Putting “@,” “u,” “w/,” and “cuz” in papers for school will lower your grade significantly.
7. THERE is a pronoun or an adverb – “put it there” or “there were roses in the garden.” THEIR is a plural possessive – “their coats are in the closet” or “their dorm room is on the second floor.” Figure this out.
8. A lot is TWO words.
9. READ the assignment. If you were asked to write a three paragraph description, write THREE paragraphs and actually DESCRIBE something (see #3).
10. I do not accept late homework, regardless of how sorry your story is, unless we’ve previously agreed to adjust the due date. Check your syllabus or talk to a classmate if you don’t remember the TWO HUNDRED TIMES I’ve repeated this policy.
11. Yes, I read everything you write. If I asked for ten pages from all of my twenty students, I will read ALL TWO HUNDRED PAGES. If you put in the effort to write it, I will put in the effort to read it. Please don’t stick random song lyrics or a “howdy, Mrs. Chili – are you still reading this” in the middle just to test me.
12. You may revise anything I’ve graded and hand it back for another shot at a better grade. I’m not guaranteeing that you’ll GET the better grade, but I will reconsider anything that has been reworked.
13. I do not give grades, you earn them. If you hand me nothing, I hand you back a zero. By the same token, if you hand me something spectacular, I will celebrate you publicly if you’ll let me.