“Enunciates too much, usually when explaining the intricate mythology behind his short stories. References fan fiction in class. Writes sex scenes that are borderline pornographic. All his stories are ten pages too long, but he turned them in on time. Laughs a lot for no discernible reason. I’m a little afraid of him. Rating: 3/5.”
“I have no idea who this guy is. His name appears on the roster, but he never once showed up to class. My one email to him bounced back. At the end of the semester, I somehow found two of his writing exercises under the stack of loose papers in my desk drawer. For that feat alone, I’ll award him a point. Rating: 1/5."
“Writes the best stories in class. Comes to office hours every week. Routinely asks for advice about applying to MFA programs. I tell her it’s all about finding a place that matches her writing style, because that answer sounds alright. It’s easier than telling the whole truth. Last week, I suggested maybe she make a list of programs that seem like a good fit for her. After extensive online research, she came back with a list of the five most selective MFA programs in the country. I told her good luck, kid, hope that works out for you. The answer was supposed to be sarcastic, but I meant it. Rating: None. She has enough of that on the way.”
“Mostly sits in the back of the room and stares at me. This student can have whatever rating keeps me from having to answer for the conflicted feelings that stare inspires in me. Rating: Yowza/5.”
“Stories were pretty okay. Class comments were pretty okay. Only had one absence all year. Came to office hours once for five minutes. Got a B as a final grade, and that was cool with her. Nodded to me on the way out the door on the last day, said I should have a good break. This one, right here. This student is the dream. Rating: 5/5."
“I can’t tell if her stories are terrible or brilliant. I’ve read them each three times. Are they clichéd plots or clever takes on folk tales? I’m supposed to know the difference, right? Is there even a difference at all? Don’t goddamn tell me that I’ve been studying fiction writing for my entire adult life just to be fooled by an undergrad who wears the same hoodie every day. Rating: I just don’t know anymore.”
“My first year of grad school, I might have failed this student. Lots of grammar errors, incorrect formatting, messy structure. Revisions are slightly better, but still rough. Poses thoughtful questions. Gets excited about the assignments. Never missed class a single time. Asked me for extra reading recommendations, actually read all of them, and talked to me about them in detail. Works at the Subway off campus. Gave me a free cookie once, which I shouldn’t have taken, but I didn’t want to be rude. My finely tuned grading system put the final grade at a C minus, but I switched it to B minus. Probably I could get in trouble for that, but whatever. It’s my last year. Bite me. Rating: 5/5.”