Murdering Your Assignment

, , , , | Learning | July 24, 2018

(I am in sixth grade. I love to write stories, but I know that my teacher is very particular as to the criteria she gives for assignments. Therefore, by the end of the year, I always ask the teacher to clarify the assignment several times before starting.)

Teacher: “Your assignment is to write a mystery story. In the story, someone has to disappear, but in the end they are found. It needs to be four pages long.”

Me: “Are there any other criteria for the story? Any limitations on what we can or cannot write?”

Teacher: “No, you can write anything you want to write about.”

Me: “Anything?”

Teacher: *annoyed* “Yes, you can write any kind of mystery story you want.”

Me: “Really? Anything? No limits?”

Teacher: *really annoyed* “Anything! Only the original requirements of four pages, and that someone must disappear and be found. Your rough draft is due in two weeks.”

(Several days later, after some kids have finished their draft:)

Several Students: “[Teacher]! Four pages is way too long!”

Teacher: “Okay, everyone should make their story two pages long.”

(A few days later:)

Me: “[Teacher], I wrote four pages like you originally assigned. We did the peer review with my classmates, and I can’t figure out how to cut out half of my story. Can you help me?”

Teacher: *takes paper, looks at it for 30 seconds* “It’s too long; make it shorter.”

(Due date of the assignment:)

Teacher: “Okay, class, now that everyone has finished their mystery story draft, tell me what kind of mystery stories are there?”

Student #2: “Murder mysteries!”

Teacher: “No! No one is allowed to do a murder mystery! No murder, no violence! No one should have included any of these in their stories! I expect you to finalize your drafts and turn them in in two days.”

(Half the class completely rewrote their stories, since they assumed “anything” meant that a murder mystery was okay.)


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