My Top Ten English Teacher Pet Peeves

The other day I was joking around with a friend that I was going to start next school year by handing my incoming students a list of my pet peeves along with syllabus, just to put it out on the table. And then I realized, maybe I should. Heck, maybe I should even make a poster! In the meantime, I thought I'd publish my Top Ten English Teacher Pet Peeves here*:

1. When titles aren't punctuated correctly- Hands down this is my number one complaint. It drives me absolutely crazy when students put the name of a novel in quotations marks or they underline the title of a short poem. Or, even worse, is when they do both to one title! The horror! I remind them 934792945893 times what to do during the course of a novel study, so there is no excuse. 

2. When a student says that the "author has diction"- The author definitely has word choice, good catch. One year I complained so much about this generic, obvious phrase to a sophomore AP Lang class that one hilarious kid wrote that phrase over and over again for a few pages straight (I think I still have it posted on my wall). 

3. Blatant lying about word count- Yes, I totally believe your one page of double spaced type is 1,200 words. I haven't been doing this for years, nor was I ever a student.

4. Times New Roman Font- I don't hold it against them, I just hate it. 

5. The phrase "in conclusion"- Just conclude. Seal the deal, finish up. End the darn thing, don't announce it.

6. When author or character names are misspelled- So rude, they're our friends after spending so much time with them, yes? Tsk, tsk.

7. When quotes are just plopped down as a stand-alone sentence- You have to lead in or lead out! You've gotta! (I won't even start on then proceeding to analysis...)

8. Generic or excessive author flattery- Just give me some hardcore literary analysis. We know the authors are talented/prolific/great/amazing- that's why we're studying them! 

9. A thesis that includes a list- While this isn't necessarily wrong, there are just more complex, natural ways of presenting your argument.

10. Using the pronoun "you" in a formal paper- Me? You're talking to me? Really? 

*We all know I LOVE my kids and enjoy the process of teaching and by no means think high school students should be perfect writers (I make mistakes, for pete's sake!). I also know many of these are personal preference, not necessarily errors. 

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