If you’re a teacher at any level, or have friends who teach, your Facebook feed is likely peppered with inadvertently amusing quotes from students’ assignments. A kid may have, for example, confused Abraham Lincoln for Mussolini, or identified Marie Curie as a fashion magazine. Maybe another wants an extension because of a crucial upcoming vacation to St. Tropez, or would like to meet with your teacher-friend to ask why an exam only got an A-minus… and to hold that meeting on a Sunday. One college-admissions officer was fired for this sort of sharing. But these posts, at least when coming from instructors, tend to just fly under the radar. The Shit My Students Write Tumblr collects such quotes anonymously, but is, as one BuzzFeed writer notes, enough to make students “paranoid.” It’s that much more unsettling when mistakes or missteps are shared on Facebook—the students may not be named, but the professors and institutions typically will be. Thanks to social media, we’ve moved from a vague sense that teachers sometimes talk about their students in an unflattering light to a having very concrete idea of what they’re saying.
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