JISHOU, HUNAN — This message to a professor has been circulating on the Internet lately. I have no idea of its provenance — maybe it’s a hoax — but the sentiments contained in it we teachers have all heard before, in some fashion.
The short version is: “Professor, I am a genius. The brilliance of my work is so self-evident that I deserve an A.”
[NOTE: The mechanical errors are supposedly the student’s.]
I am going to try my hardest to write you this email in response to the recent grade received on my paper, without reflecting the anger that I feel as a result. I would like to first express my respect for you and every other teacher that has placed their energy into educating me and my peers, as we all know that teachers are often the unappreciated foundation of our future. However, I must express a slight amount of disrespect, as I do not agree with your perception of my paper one bit. I recently read an article about Bill Gates and the steps he took as he dropped out of Harvard. What I found so interesting was that he had the confidence to leave his schooling behind for the other students that really needed it, as he realized that he had more important things to accomplish in life than to argue with teachers about grades on papers, as we all now know what thoughts he had storming in his mind.
You commented that I had probably the best example, to the assigned question, out of all the students participating. However, you also said that I did not complete the assignment as instructed, because I did not explain with the proper support from the text book literature pertaining to the two gentlemen of which the entire assignment pertained to. I beg to differ on your opinion of my interpretation of the assignment. Proffessor, what you fail to realize is that my story explains the topic in so much detail, that being specific is not in my nature as a writer, or a mathotical student. You see if I was to follow the path as the other students, I would have never gained the respect and admiration of my past teachers. What you failed to realize is that I understand the topic in greater depth than any of the other students. So much so, that I had a smile on my face writing this paper knowing that only an A student would understand my direction. The fact that I knew the topic so thouroughly, that I was able to visualize an event in history that explained the different mindsets of the two philosophers at hand, that it needed no explanation, besides an in depth detailed visual summary of a World War 2 event, that created an anaoly of the two philosopys that needed no explanation. You see the leaders of the two countries show the details that separate their ideology creating a mirror reflection of Mills and Rousseaus’s philosophys with regards to social justice. How ironic is it that justice is not seen by the instructor of a class about the exact topic that leads me to this email.
The paper is so methodically written, that it needs no explaniation. I am so disappointed that you do not understand or see that. Do you seriously think that I don’t understand the topic inside and out? You are so mistaken, as I understood it enough to come up with an example that so vividly creates a perfect analogy to the difference between Mills and Rousseau. That paper is written to perfection whether you understand it or not! The leaders of our country and Japan created a stamp in history that is flawed just as any theory of justice by anyone will never be perfect. Don’t you get it Professor? How do you not see that the government morals and ideas of the U.S. and Japan can directly reflect the differences between Mills and Rousseau? It is clear as day to any person that understands good writing. I am an A student and that is an A paper, and always will be to me. I read some of the other students papers, and to me they were nonsense written to fill pages. I will apologize for this email if you can produce one paper written for this assignment that can come close to competing with the ideas in my paper. I can only dream of having someone like Bill Gates give me advice for this situation. But I will still go on to follow the path that God has paved for me regardless of your opinion, because I already had the guideness I needed to help me visualize my purpose. I want my grade changed, and I am sorry if I offend you by this email, but I put my heart and sole into my education and I believe in myself even if you don’t.
Setting aside this student’s grandiose ideas of his own brilliance and divinely inspired direction, his (I am assuming he’s male) big beef is that the prof gave him low marks because the student did not follow instructions. Academic papers require support for one’s thesis, either from one’s textbook or from other sources. Apparently, the student just blathered on, making perhaps a good case, but providing no evidence for the veracity of his claims (whatever they may have been).
Maybe my schooling was an outlier, but I learned how to write acceptable history papers in the 7th grade, and decent ones in the 11th grade. This guy must have been handing in personal reflections (sans citations) all through high school.
It’s interesting that Bill Gates this guy’s hero. Gates did in fact drop out of Harvard, founded a tiny company called Microsoft, and flailed around trying to find a niche in the infant IT world. When IBM went looking for an operating system for its new Intel-based personal computers, Gates licensed an existing OS and used it as the core for Microsoft’s MS-DOS.
Gates took a shortcut, which in the Lands of Coding and of Business, is perfectly OK. Our student doesn’t realize that for some pursuits (oh, brain surgery comes to mind), shortcuts are not a very good idea. You have to do actual work about 98% of the time.
[ADDENDUM: After re-reading his missive, I wonder if the student in question was modeling his prose on Ayn Rand’s. Maybe he’s a young fan of Atlas Shrugged.]