Policies College Instructors Would Like to Put in Their Syllabi

Policies College Instructors Would Like to Put in Their Syllabi

Put your goddamn legs together. I know it is your goal to sit as parallel with the ground as you possibly can for the duration of class, and that your desk and its draconian insistence upon keeping you vertical is really harshing your slouch vibes. But could you please, for the sake of the person who has no choice but to look at you for the next fifty minutes, sit up and put your knees together? You’re not posing for a National Geographic spread: the art of picking up a mate in college has evolved (albeit barely) beyond presenting yourself to the available females in the classroom.

Sharing is caring. Yes, class is at 3 p.m. Yes, that is technically your lunchtime because you’ve mastered the art of No Class before Eleven.  But I’ve been teaching and/or in my own classes all morning, with barely enough time to shove a granola bar in my face, and when you walk in here with four hot slices of Mesa pizza and a Big Gulp full of Diet Dr. Pepper spiked with Karkov, I’m going to get totes jelz.  Give me some of your tasty morsels and I’ll consider overlooking the fact that you addressed me as “Teach” and used the phrase “hella hungover” in your last e-mail.

Leggings are not pants. The depth (in millimeters) to which I could feasibly rest an upright dime in your cavernous camel toe is equivalent to the number of points I will deduct from your final grade. Expect an outright slap to the face if your ass has words on it.

An in-class work day does not constitute time for Angry Birds. Make a case for improved hand-eye coordination until you’re blue in the face, I’ll none of it. If I don’t see you at least pretending to put some legitimate thought into the writing assignment I spent about 35 seconds making up, you will write a fifteen page paper on the metaphorical implications of knocking down pig houses with birds as it pertains to the plummeting success of your college career.

Week one assignment: Mandatory five page essay titled “What I Am Willing to Do for a Passing Grade.” My scruples only last me as long as my paycheck does. To give you some idea how long that is, let me point out that I frequently refer to my teaching job as my “indentured servitude.” And you can forget about sexual favors: you’re what, nineteen? The fuck do you know about what goes where? I like food, Amazon gift cards, hand-written Shakespearean sonnets, and my duplex could use a good scrub-down. How far backwards are you willing to bend to not have to take this class again?[1]

If I don’t get to nap in class, neither do you. If you do fall asleep, class participation points for that day will be determined by the number of paper wads your classmates can land in your gaping mouth. Ten feet away, no leaning, bank shots count. Let’s make this fair, guys.

Grade disputes are allowed. If you feel that your assignment was graded unfairly, see me during office hours. There we will settle the matter using the ancient Germanic law method of trial by combat. You may pick your weapon of choice from the bottom left drawer of my desk, but the broadsword is mine. We will align ourselves perpendicular with the sun so neither has an advantage, in a quarterstave sixty feet square (somewhere behind the student union, I think), as standardized during the Great Schwabenspiegel Grade Dispute of 1275.

Bitching about having to come to class early will result in immediate expulsion. Of my fist. Away from my body. Into your face. Against everything I assumed was acceptable social norm, you’re somehow allowed to roll groggily into class in your sweats, grey “COLLEGE” t-shirt, and unisex Uggs. You got up five minutes ago, tops. You know I’m here too, right? Every day? No excused absences? Looking exponentially more presentable than you? G’head, whine. I dare you. And see what sort of pent-up wrath an under-paid, over-worked, debt-laden, dissertation-writing graduate student can summon from the depths of her dead, wretched soul.

There is no assigned seating, because I’m going to try really hard not to remember any of you. Sit wherever the hell you want. Just don’t expect me to a) remember your name, or b) give a shit if you stop coming to class. I will give exactly one half of one second’s thought to putting an X next to your name for that day, and go on forgetting you existed.

FAQ: About Your Teacher

Are you an easy grader?

Not anymore.

What’s that thing on your face?

It’s a mole, dickhead.

Why do your arms move like that?

What, I suppose you’re here on a gracefulness scholarship?

What should I call you?

“Her Majesty Katie the First, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas   Queen, Defender of the Faith.” Call me “Kates” and I’ll flick you in the nose.

Why are you pursuing a PhD in English?

Hey, take it easy, buddy. You’re prodding at some pretty deep-seated emotional issues there.

Katie Sisneros, with help from fellow college instructor Caitlin McHugh and Christian Dahlager, who I’m pretty sure has never taught a college class.

Photo: James Franco, sleeping in class like an asshole. (TMZ)

[1] Note: This is just an analogy. back bends are not considered a viable service in grade bartering.