Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Advice to Graduate Students

Today I spent some time grading assignments from my graduate level students. Here is some advice for those of you that may be considering pursuing this level of education:

1. Put your name on your paper. You have been doing it for approximately 16 grade levels. Now is not the time to stop.

2. When the questions asks for four examples, don't give me the same example worded four different ways. For example... Sam showed limited cognition when he was unable to remember what time to feed the baby. Sam forgot to feed the baby, therefore he has no cognition. If Sam has to have help remembering to feed the baby, this shows he needs help with cognition. Sam does not have the same cognition as normal people as evidenced by the fact that he cannot remember to feed the baby. That is ONE example.

3. If it says reference the text, reference the text. Don't say "The textbook has a chapter about Mental Retardation". Show me you read that chapter with a quote or two genius!

4. No fancy colors. I do not need each answer written in a different color font. This may have been cute for answering questions about your boyfriend in high school, but it is not so cute when discussing the heartache experienced by parents of children with profound disabilities!

5. If it asks for a limitation...don't give me a strength. I know the strengths already...that's why I didn't ask about them.

6. Get a new printer. I can hardly read your dot-matrix text. Or save it to a flash drive and print it out at Kinkos.

7. When making a video of yourself to be viewed by the instructor...
Clean your house first. I do not need to look at your sink full of dirty dishes. I have my own thank you very much. Do I really need to mention throwing away dirty diapers sitting on the couch? Make sure that the camera operator knows the importance of the instructor actually being able to see what you are doing on the video. Your grade will reflect the fact that I watched your camera operator's hand eat french fries for 3 minutes. And I BEG YOU...please take the battery out of the beeping smoke detector before filming! I will deduct 1 point for every beep I hear.

Consider this a public service announcement!