Canadian TA Abhors Her Students’ “Righting” Mistakes

By Rosella Eleanor LaFevre

I just love it when a professor warns students not to make grammatical errors in their papers after they’ve passed out the syllabus, which happens to be full of grammatical errors. This is why I found this so funny:

“My student’s papers are making me dumber, so very stupid; by the minute. Please, make them, stop. They are infecting me with there huge and apparent stupidity, and I fear they will start to effect in my opinion the way I myself right papers (sic).”

This was written as a Facebook status by Bianca Baggiarini, a teaching assistant from Canada’s York University. We’re pretty sure that even in Canada, you “write” papers, not “right” them.

Baggiarini’s comments were somewhat defended in The Toronto Star fellow TA Hans Rollmann.

“It’s a much wider and more systemic problem of respect on campus, and in many ways it just reflects the same attitude and comments many tenured faculty and senior administrators encourage,” Rollmann told The Toronto Star.

“That’s the exact thing we hear from tenured faculty, from department heads, from deans, from senior administrators, it’s this … continuous disparaging attitude toward undergraduates on campus,’’ says Rollmann.

I agree that this is indicative of an academe-wide “disparaging attitude” toward college students. In high school, a lot of the teachers I was close to had the same attitude toward high school students. Yes, it can be annoying to read grammatically incorrect writing — as a writer and editor, I’ve seen my fair share of mind-boggling errors. But everyone makes mistakes — especially when they’re enrolled in five classes and tend to have two or three papers due at the same time.

Rosella Eleanor LaFevre can be reached at rosella@mltsmag.com.

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