Over the past year, one of the most popular search terms that leads people to this blog is “fail.” And as a educator, I guess I do think and discuss failure in its many forms quite often.
But this morning, my Twitter friend Kneale Mann shared a link to a short video called Famous Failures. When I grow up, I hope that I have been a failure like one of the people in this video. As the narrator says at the end, “if you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.”
What are some of the “failures” in your life that have inspired you to move forward?
Now that winter semester is well on its way, I took some time to reminisce about all the ways that students can do well in my classes. But instead of sharing those with you today, I’ll instead offer the flip-side: what you should do if your goal is to FAIL a class. I promise you that I’ve had a student at one time or another who has done every one of these things. Luckily, there is no one student who has done all of them . . . yet. (Please don’t take this as a challenge )
- Think of the assignment guidelines provided by your professor as mere suggestions, not requirements for success.
- Consider each assignment as discrete entities. Don’t apply the constructive criticism you’ve received from your previous assignment to your next one.
- Since Microsoft Word will catch all your mistakes (grammar, APA style,Associated Press style, etc.), there’s no need to proofread your assignments before turning them in.
- Plagiarize often and flagrantly. After all, your professor won’t think to check the Internet (or other sources) to see if you’ve copied anything.
- Reading homework assignments before the class when they will be discussed? Why bother?
- Don’t bother to check your grades in GeorgiaVIEW (or your university’s online service), even though they’re posted in there throughout the semester. And don’t bother to keep your graded papers to doublecheck the grade’s accuracy.
- If you have a concern about your grade, wait until the last week of class to ask your professor for ideas on how to raise it.
- Ask in class every day, “Can we get extra credit for this?” Or, when or if extra credit is offered, turn it down. It won’t make that much difference in your final grade anyway.
- If you’re pretty sure you won’t pass the class (or get the grade you’re hoping for) before the Withdraw Date, go ahead and stay in the class anyway, but just don’t bother showing up anymore.
- Wait until five minutes before an assignment is due on GeorgiaVIEW before trying to log in to submit it.
- When there’s a discussion question posted on GeorgiaVIEW, don’t answer it. Or answer it superficially with one or two sentences. Or say, “I totally agree with what Kyle said in his response.”
- When in a class in a PC lab, check your Facebook or e-mail, or surf the web, while class is in session, even if your professor has said that it’s time to turn all monitors off.
- Wait until you get to your classroom to consider printing something that is needed for class that day.
- Be the first one to answer every question in class, every time. (I will tend to call this student Horshack, either behind or in front of his or her back.)
- Attend class only when you feel like it, and be sure that others know you have better things you could be doing with your time.
- Don’t check your e-mail for messages from your professor. Or mark your professor’s e-mail as that of a known spammer, so his or her messages automatically are delivered into your bulk mail or spam folder.
- When you’re confused, assume that you’re the only one, so don’t ask for clarification or explanation.
- Avoid your professor’s office at all costs.
- Only discuss grade-related information with your professor. Or even better, only talk to your professor to ask, “Did we talk about anything important in class the last time we met? I wasn’t here.”
- Don’t listen, and that means don’t listen to your professor, your classmates, your advisor . . . What you think and feel is way more important.