We asked teachers for anecdotes about what they've seen while grading student work. These are their answers...
1. The assignment was to analyze an advertisement. A student handed in a paper all about Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds was in the ad, but the student never got around to actually saying anything about the ad itself.
2. I assigned a paper on the ways in which Margaret Cho satirized racism in her book, I’m The One That I Want. Cho is well known as a comedienne who addresses homophobia and racism as societal wrongs, to put it mildly. But what I actually got while grading was a student calling her (a "reverse") racist, because he read an essay that mocked white patriarchy LITERALLY. OMG. HOW. WUT. WHY.
3. A paper on Taoism. Student turned in a blank paper. Haha. Ahem.
4. Students had to do a simple Monte Carlo simulation. Over the course of a page a student meandered in their report from calling it a Monte Carlo simulation, to Monte Christo, to Monte Crisco.
5. Question: "What is the strongest force on earth?"
Student Answer: Love
6. When inveighing against relying solely on spellcheck to edit one's work, I always cite two cases from papers turned into me with unintentionally funny lines: One said "It's important for parents to develop a strong bong with their children." Another described Robert Frost as the "valid Victorian of his high school class."
7. In my creative writing class, I like to start the year with short in-class assignments about evoking emotion through writing, you know, "Write something that will make your reader feel joy/sorrow/anger/etc..."
Once a kid asked, "Who’s my reader, you?" And I was like, sure, for this assignment, it’s probably gonna be me.
So he turns in a screed about bad Asian female drivers. Then, at the end, in parentheses, he writes, "I’m sorry, I don’t really mean any of this, but I thought it would make you angry for this assignment."
Yes, I’m an Asian woman.
We hope this good natured list helped you laugh and put a bounce in your step. It's always important to laugh once a day. Continue to do the good work you do as teachers to support and enable student learning.