The Final Draft

I’m grading. Hey, ’tis the season.

And I just ran across a paper I was very familiar with. Not in the bad, plagiarism way; I was familiar because the rough draft took a *lot* of my time. I corrected everything from basic spelling through grammar through inappropriately elementary exposition through disconnected ideas through inappropriately light sources through pretty much you name it. It took time. I graded another such paper earlier today, where every correction I had, and more, were addressed appropriately, and I was happy.

Not this paper. The first 2/3 of the paper are identical to the rough draft. Not. One. Change. Simple things like spelling. Improper citation format. Things that take mere seconds to fix–and I had even suggested fixes!

Anyway, no time to complain–did I mention I’m grading? So this is from a while ago. It’s title back then was “the rough draft”, so it must have been earlier in the semester, and thus bears absolutely no relation to the current problem. But I am not going to change a word of it, I’m just going to hand it in post it like this. Because, apparently, that is the thing to do. (Oh, also, Cuttlecap tip and sincere apologies to Bob Dylan–the times, they are indeed a’changin’)

You’re proud of yourself and the way that you write
In a world full of darkness, you show us the light
I would see it myself, if I weren’t so uptight
I’m the victim, it seems, of my breeding
You’re the wave of the future; I’m stuck without sight
But I’d rather you’d just done the reading.

You’ll have to accept that I’m not over-awed
The conclusions you reach are at minimum, broad
Though I know you expected us all to applaud
Your example was somewhat misleading
Your mechanics are poor and your premise is flawed
And I’d rather you’d just do the reading

There was never a doubt that the writing’s your own
I could tell by the multiple “studies have shown”
Though the authors themselves were remaining unknown
There are rules you’d be better off heeding
You say that to edit would cut you to the bone
It would help if you’d just do the reading.

When I point out a problem, you sit and you stew
And insist that it doesn’t apply, quite, to you
And the logical squirming that then will ensue
Is an error that’s termed “special pleading”
Since we covered this stuff way back in week two
I really wish you’d done the reading.

What I’m trying to do is to make you aware
That the paper you’ve written’s beyond all repair
It’s reduced me to sobbing and tearing my hair
Which I tell folks is merely receding
For the sake of your future, I think that it’s fair
To insist that you do the reading


  1. says

    With all due respect, professor, you wrote,
    In your text up above, and I merely quote:
    “It’s title back then was “the rough draft…” Pick nits:
    That surely should have no apostrophe: “Its”.

  2. StevoR says

    Different form the usual stuff – different , different neither better nor worse.
    On writing and thinking its quite some good verse.
    You can lead some to reason but not make them read
    For some teacher’s problems, make only hearts bleed.

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