I know nothing proves you’re old as thoroughly as bewailing the foibles of kids these days and complaining that they’re not as hard-working as you were. But I have to note that this letter – from a disgruntled student who thinks he’s the next Bill Gates – is beautifully indicative of everything I think is wrong with education today:
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.
Read the rest here, if you dare.
When teachers can’t fail or hold back students for being incompetent at the basics (spelling, clear writing, following directions) because parents or administration will have a tizzy fit, and when cocky yet borderline illiterate students who think they’re smarter than both teachers and classmates reject criticism as constraining their undiscovered genius, you have the perfect recipe for educational disaster. Cocky students and interfering parents aren’t new, and failing students or holding them back should be a last resort. But having taught college courses to students who clearly shouldn’t have graduated high school, I am worried about the message we’re sending to students: that they won’t be allowed to fail.
This kid is spoiled. Period. And I hope at some point he fails enough exams or term papers to prepare him for the fact that in the real world, you’re not rewarded for turning in an off-topic piece of badly edited creative writing, then telling your boss he’s too dumb to get it.