Every teacher who requires students to write research papers knows how much stress the process produces – FOR TEACHERS! Yes, research papers are nerve-wracking for students, but teachers who experience prolonged research-paper stress year after year know how many times we secretly wish we could lower our standards and omit this time-consuming paper that creates so much misery, hard work, and frustration.
I am typing this post on Tuesday, the night before I will actually upload it to the blog because I know I will not have time to type an entry tomorrow when I collect research papers.
Interruptions 1 & 2: I just stopped typing this post in order to answer two emails about how to cite sources.
I'm already worrying about collecting papers because I know each of the following will happen.
1 out of 83 students will show up at least an hour before school because he is worried sick about whether or not one of his sentences contains a comma splice.
1, 2, or 3 students will run into my classroom to print papers because their printers "died."
1 student will ask for extra time on the paper.
1 student will turn in a paper with no internal documentation and swear I did not tell students they needed to cite sources.
Interruption 3: "What's the password for Noodletools?"
1 student will cry.
1 or more students will swear the entire process is NOT FAIR!
1 student will turn in his paper and cheer.
1 or more students will not show up for class and will send me emails that they finished the paper so late that they are emailing it to me so they can sleep.
1 student will not show up for school and concoct an outrageous story of why he did not finish his paper – so outrageous that even he will not be able to keep a straight face.
Interruption 4: "What do I do if I submitted the wrong version of my paper to Turnitin?"
1 student will try to turn in a paper without a Works Cited page.
1 or more parents will email me chastising me for giving students only 2 days to write a research paper – as if any teacher in the history of the world assigned a research paper and only gave students two days to complete it. (Come on, Mom!)
1, 2 or 3 students will turn in papers with 2" margins in order to meet the length requirement.
1 student will claim that his mother, father, brother, sister, priest, or rabbi thinks this research assignment is "stupid."
1 student's paper will be printed on pastel paper or on the back of another assignment because the family had no clean white paper at home.
1 student will claim defiantly, "That's not the way we did it last year!"
Interruption 5: "What do I do if the article doesn't list an author?"
1 student wielding a jump drive will run into the classroom between classes begging for help in retrieving his paper, a paper he will claim is "the best paper I have ever written."
1, 2, or 3 students will fall asleep in class.
1 or 2 students will have only two sources and claim that those two are the only two sources available on the topic.
1 student will claim he didn't know the paper was due today.
1, 2, 3, or 4 students will boast that they wrote their papers at the last minute (and then will later claim that I graded unfairly when their papers receive low marks).
1 or more students will submit papers that contain plagiarism and later claim they don't know how that could have happened.
1 or 2 students (true Gifts from God) will tell me that they really enjoyed researching and writing their papers, and I'll smile.
Interruption Tally for the Night – over 35 emails
Most Common Question of the Night – "How do I cite . . . ?"
Most Annoying Question of the Night: "Do you have any suggestions for a research paper topic?!!"
1 student will leave the classroom and ask, "Do you think you'll have the papers graded by tomorrow?!!
1 teacher will contemplate losing weight and becoming a Phys. Ed. teacher!