The Internet is rife with amazing things: grouchy cats in hats, interactive games, new recipes. The list just goes on and on. But often, each great thing has its equal and opposite horrible, terrible thing. For all the grouchy cats I enjoy, there are that many posts and blogs dedicated to pointing out the foibles of college and high school students. I’m going to cut to the chase: I do not like these blogs one bit.
For starters, I don’t like nasty things that come at other people’s expense. I mean, I like slapstick and low brow comedy, but that isn’t real life – that’s TV or film. For seconders, I don’t really get the point. Some of the mistakes look like typos. Other mistakes show some lack of understanding. As far as I can tell, all it does is provide people with the opportunity to point and laugh at someone’s apparent stupidity. I don’t really understand laughing at someone’s level of intelligence, but that aside, why point and laugh about something that can do so much more damage than its worth?
These websites are fundamentally anti-student. They are absolutely disrespectful to the students. To put their mistakes up for public ridicule, even if the mistakes are anonymous, is cruel and does nothing to help further the goals of education. And I know, it doesn’t have to further the goals of education, not everything has to be super serious or anything, but it shouldn’t actively hinder the educational process. These blogs definitely do. Kids are nervous enough about speaking up in class as it is. Whether they don’t want to be wrong in front of their peers, or whether they’re just shy, or whether there is something else going on, the bottom line is that class participation and active engagement is hard enough to foster without the threat of Internet infamy.
Students deserve the respect of their educators. They deserve to have the classroom be a safe space for them. They deserve to not be an object of ridicule by their educators and the general public. The websites that post direct quotes from student papers are reprehensible and go against everything that educators should stand for.