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  1. #1
    Zodiak is offline Newbie
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    Question Please grade my essay

    Hello! I am a university student from Russia. We have to write quite a lot of essays as part of our English course. However, every term we get a new teacher, this is just how the system works, and all teachers are quite different in how they asses your work, both in class performance and written tasks. Consequently, I am quite disappointed in my current teacher, who I feel is being unreasonably harsh. Thus I'd really appreciate an independent opinion and assessment of my last essay.

    Please note that I by all means respect all my teachers and never ever argue. Nor do I mean to say that my essay deserves an excellent mark. I am fully aware of my limitations, my peculiar style and so forth. But he gave me an F minus for the following essay, saying that it was "heresy", totally slating my work, as though it was written in Chinese instead of English. Again, I admit I didn't spend much time on it, I admit it is quite short (though, surprisingly, he didn't mention the size among his negative points), I admit it's written in quite a freestyle manner, but then that was the task: just write an essay on the following topic (there was a list of topics to choose from, I picked one), no specification as to how exactly the essay should be written.

    So please, as a qualified English teacher (presumably a native speaker) could you please grade my essay, break it down, walk me through both the negative and the positive points of my work. Does it really deserve an F minus? And also, please trust me when I say that the overall level of English of most of our students is very, very, very low (that's a fact), most of them can't even read properly, let alone write essays, so it's not like I'm up against strong competition and my work is the worst of all. I know that isn't too nice of me to say that, but it really is true. Few people were as lucky as myself to have spent most of their childhood and teenage years abroad in an English-speaking country, so it's not their fault, but the fact remains that I'm simply puzzled as to what made my teacher grade my work so poorly when most of his students can't even form coherent sentences. So, without further ado, please help me out here, I need an expert opinion on this. If my essay is really bad, then I have no qualms and will do my best to improve my writing skills, but somehow I just don't really trust the guy's judgment...

    P.S. Oh, and to avoid needless political discussions I have to mention that I don't thing the low grade is in any way related to my pro-US stance. Hopefully he's not THAT bent...

    --------


    World Policeman: If Not the US - Who?

    The world has always resembled a boiling pot of nations, states and leaders all metaphorically converging into what we call "the world order". It is only natural, then, to assume that nowadays any sense of seclusion and restraint, or at least "locality", commonly associated with ancient and medieval times due to a number of reasons, but mostly the simple fact that people in, say, Australia had no idea about people in Europe back then, is truly non-existent. The world has suddenly become tiny, or - to use a trendier word - globalized. We have by now had two World Wars, with most countries having been heavily involved and having sustained some actual damage. In these circumstances arises a need for an entity that would "police the globe". Not Europe, not even Africa, but the whole world. So who or what in this day and age is able to perform such complicated a task?

    Bypassing the aforementioned question and all related discussions, the USA seem to have single-handedly assumed this role and are going out of their way to prove to the world that they are the best for the job. Does the world need that? That is an entirely different topic. We can speculate all we want about how evil, bent and corrupt the USA government is and has been since WW2, but the reality is that the world needs a Policeman and no country but the USA, at present, possesses adequate resources and capacity to control each and every corner of the Earth. The fact that Uncle Sam has tagged an entire "no-one-but-us" (pun intended) agenda along with performing policeman duties is obvious and logical; it is the price we pay for "security and stability".

    I would also like to reiterate that the issue of the USA being a bully and not a policeman is actually well beyond the scope of this article. The shortcomings of the present situation are quite obvious to everyone, and millions of people will die and would have died regardless of whose flag sits atop the world. The UN was dead at birth and thus is not capable of preserving world peace and stability when things get really hot, and there is no other country but the US that is capable of being the world policeman, be it the proverbial bad or good cop.

  2. #2
    Zodiak is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Please grade my essay

    I know this is quite long incomparison to other posts and that I'm most likely being quite inappropriate (I felt like laying out the background story for you, so it doesn't seem like I just want you to check my homework for me; already have the mark, no way to alter it, so it's purely for my own satisfaction/disappointment). But still I'd really appreciate some comments as to whether this really is a "Fail" essay or not. The subject matter is quite irrelivant in this case since I couldn't care less about politics, it's just the usual kind of topic we are given.

  3. #3
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Please grade my essay

    Quote Originally Posted by Zodiak View Post
    I know this is quite long incomparison to other posts and that I'm most likely being quite inappropriate (I felt like laying out the background story for you, so it doesn't seem like I just want you to check my homework for me; already have the mark, no way to alter it, so it's purely for my own satisfaction/disappointment). But still I'd really appreciate some comments as to whether this really is a "Fail" essay or not. The subject matter is quite irrelivant in this case since I couldn't care less about politics, it's just the usual kind of topic we are given.
    I'm a teacher at a two-year college in the US, but not an English teacher. I am an editor, but even so, you may not be interested in my opinion.

    The use of English is remarkably good. I think the use of English in this essay is indistinguishable from that used by any ordinary college student in the US.

    However, this essay would flunk in the US.

    "It is only natural, then, to assume that nowadays any sense of seclusion and restraint, or at least "locality", commonly associated with ancient and medieval times due to a number of reasons, but mostly the simple fact that people in, say, Australia had no idea about people in Europe back then, is truly non-existent."

    What does this passage even mean? I don't suppose a meaning could be teased out of this mess of verbiage, but even if it could, the thought (if there is one) could not possibly be good enough to repay the trouble.

    As an editor, I would stop reading right there and throw this piece away.

    In this case, however, I read all the way through, and although the passage I quote here is probably the worst, the rest isn't much better.

    The problem may be that you had only one wee idea -- and no intention of adding anything more. Instead, you added some words.

    I want my three minutes back.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please grade my essay

    Quote Originally Posted by Zodiak View Post
    Hello! I am a university student from Russia. We have to write quite a lot of essays as part of our English course. However, every term we get a new teacher, this is just how the system works, and all teachers are quite different in how they asses your work, both in class performance and written tasks. Consequently, I am quite disappointed in my current teacher, who I feel is being unreasonably harsh. Thus I'd really appreciate an independent opinion and assessment of my last essay.

    Please note that I by all means respect all my teachers and never ever argue.
    Maybe this is part of the problem. Academic argument is healthy (perhaps less so in Russia still?).


    Nor do I mean to say that my essay deserves an excellent mark. I am fully aware of my limitations, my peculiar style and so forth. But he gave me an F minus for the following essay, saying that it was "heresy", totally slating my work, as though it was written in Chinese instead of English.
    "Heresy?" In what way?

    Again, I admit I didn't spend much time on it, I admit it is quite short (though, surprisingly, he didn't mention the size among his negative points), I admit it's written in quite a freestyle manner, but then that was the task: just write an essay on the following topic (there was a list of topics to choose from, I picked one), no specification as to how exactly the essay should be written.

    So please, as a qualified English teacher (presumably a native speaker) could you please grade my essay, break it down, walk me through both the negative and the positive points of my work. Does it really deserve an F minus?
    No, it doesn't. It's not especially good, but perhaps your teacher is reacting to the content rather than your English.


    And also, please trust me when I say that the overall level of English of most of our students is very, very, very low (that's a fact), most of them can't even read properly, let alone write essays, so it's not like I'm up against strong competition and my work is the worst of all. I know that isn't too nice of me to say that, but it really is true. Few people were as lucky as myself to have spent most of their childhood and teenage years abroad in an English-speaking country, so it's not their fault, but the fact remains that I'm simply puzzled as to what made my teacher grade my work so poorly when most of his students can't even form coherent sentences.
    You really need to have an honest talk with your teacher about this. I don't know how much you are allowed to argue with him, but the points you are making here are valid. Your written English is very good. The only possible explanations for an F minus in a class of students who don't speak the language are political reasons, or that he just doesn't like you.


    So, without further ado, please help me out here, I need an expert opinion on this. If my essay is really bad, then I have no qualms and will do my best to improve my writing skills, but somehow I just don't really trust the guy's judgment...

    P.S. Oh, and to avoid needless political discussions I have to mention that I don't thing the low grade is in any way related to my pro-US stance. Hopefully he's not THAT bent...

    --------


    World Policeman: If Not the US - Who?

    The world has always resembled a boiling pot of nations, states and leaders all metaphorically converging into what we call "the world order".
    Actually the metaphor (and a bad one) is the boiling pot of nations. We, or the world, is not converging into an order at all.

    It is only natural, then, to assume that nowadays any sense of seclusion and restraint, or at least "locality", commonly associated with ancient and medieval times due to a number of reasons, but mostly the simple fact that people in, say, Australia had no idea about people in Europe back then, is truly non-existent.
    Huh?
    Restraint isn't the right word.

    The world has suddenly become tiny, or - to use a trendier word - globalized.
    Not quite the same thing.
    We have by now had two World Wars, with most countries having been heavily involved and having sustained some actual damage. In these circumstances arises a need for an entity that would "police the globe". Not Europe, not even Africa, but the whole world. So who or what in this day and age is able to perform such complicated a task?

    Bypassing the aforementioned question and all related discussions, the USA seem to have single-handedly assumed this role and are going out of their way to prove to the world that they are the best for the job. Does the world need that? That is an entirely different topic. We can speculate all we want about how evil, bent and corrupt the USA government is and has been since WW2, but the reality is that the world needs a Policeman and no country but the USA, at present, possesses adequate resources and capacity to control each and every corner of the Earth. The fact that Uncle Sam has tagged an entire "no-one-but-us" (pun intended) agenda along with performing policeman duties is obvious and logical; it is the price we pay for "security and stability".

    I would also like to reiterate that the issue of the USA being a bully and not a policeman is actually well beyond the scope of this article. The shortcomings of the present situation are quite obvious to everyone, and millions of people will die and would have died regardless of whose flag sits atop the world. The UN was dead at birth and thus is not capable of preserving world peace and stability when things get really hot, and there is no other country but the US that is capable of being the world policeman, be it the proverbial bad or good cop.
    I'm not going to comment on everything. If you were a native speaker and presented this in a writing class, you should get around a C-.
    You should ask your teacher for some honest feedback. No-one here can explain why he gave you an F minus.


  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please grade my essay

    Quote Originally Posted by Zodiak View Post
    Hello! I am a university student from Russia. We have to write quite a lot of essays as part of our English course. However, every term we get a new teacher, this is just how the system works, and all teachers are quite different in how they asses your work, both in class performance and written tasks. Consequently, I am quite disappointed in my current teacher, who I feel is being unreasonably harsh. Thus I'd really appreciate an independent opinion and assessment of my last essay.

    Please note that I by all means respect all my teachers and never ever argue.
    Maybe this is part of the problem. Academic argument is healthy (perhaps less so in Russia still?).


    Nor do I mean to say that my essay deserves an excellent mark. I am fully aware of my limitations, my peculiar style and so forth. But he gave me an F minus for the following essay, saying that it was "heresy", totally slating my work, as though it was written in Chinese instead of English.
    "Heresy?" In what way?

    Again, I admit I didn't spend much time on it, I admit it is quite short (though, surprisingly, he didn't mention the size among his negative points), I admit it's written in quite a freestyle manner, but then that was the task: just write an essay on the following topic (there was a list of topics to choose from, I picked one), no specification as to how exactly the essay should be written.

    So please, as a qualified English teacher (presumably a native speaker) could you please grade my essay, break it down, walk me through both the negative and the positive points of my work. Does it really deserve an F minus?
    No, it doesn't. It's not especially good, but perhaps your teacher is reacting to the content rather than your English.


    And also, please trust me when I say that the overall level of English of most of our students is very, very, very low (that's a fact), most of them can't even read properly, let alone write essays, so it's not like I'm up against strong competition and my work is the worst of all. I know that isn't too nice of me to say that, but it really is true. Few people were as lucky as myself to have spent most of their childhood and teenage years abroad in an English-speaking country, so it's not their fault, but the fact remains that I'm simply puzzled as to what made my teacher grade my work so poorly when most of his students can't even form coherent sentences.
    You really need to have an honest talk with your teacher about this. I don't know how much you are allowed to argue with him, but the points you are making here are valid. Your written English is very good. The only possible explanations for an F minus in a class of students who don't speak the language are political reasons, or that he just doesn't like you.


    So, without further ado, please help me out here, I need an expert opinion on this. If my essay is really bad, then I have no qualms and will do my best to improve my writing skills, but somehow I just don't really trust the guy's judgment...

    P.S. Oh, and to avoid needless political discussions I have to mention that I don't thing the low grade is in any way related to my pro-US stance. Hopefully he's not THAT bent...

    --------


    World Policeman: If Not the US - Who?

    The world has always resembled a boiling pot of nations, states and leaders all metaphorically converging into what we call "the world order".
    Actually the metaphor (and a bad one) is the boiling pot of nations. We, or the world, is not converging into an order at all.

    It is only natural, then, to assume that nowadays any sense of seclusion and restraint, or at least "locality", commonly associated with ancient and medieval times due to a number of reasons, but mostly the simple fact that people in, say, Australia had no idea about people in Europe back then, is truly non-existent.
    Huh?
    Restraint isn't the right word.

    The world has suddenly become tiny, or - to use a trendier word - globalized.
    Not quite the same thing.
    We have by now had two World Wars, with most countries having been heavily involved and having sustained some actual damage. In these circumstances arises a need for an entity that would "police the globe". Not Europe, not even Africa, but the whole world. So who or what in this day and age is able to perform such complicated a task?

    Bypassing the aforementioned question and all related discussions, the USA seem to have single-handedly assumed this role and are going out of their way to prove to the world that they are the best for the job. Does the world need that? That is an entirely different topic. We can speculate all we want about how evil, bent and corrupt the USA government is and has been since WW2, but the reality is that the world needs a Policeman and no country but the USA, at present, possesses adequate resources and capacity to control each and every corner of the Earth. The fact that Uncle Sam has tagged an entire "no-one-but-us" (pun intended) agenda along with performing policeman duties is obvious and logical; it is the price we pay for "security and stability".

    I would also like to reiterate that the issue of the USA being a bully and not a policeman is actually well beyond the scope of this article. The shortcomings of the present situation are quite obvious to everyone, and millions of people will die and would have died regardless of whose flag sits atop the world. The UN was dead at birth and thus is not capable of preserving world peace and stability when things get really hot, and there is no other country but the US that is capable of being the world policeman, be it the proverbial bad or good cop.
    I'm not going to comment on everything. If you were a native speaker and presented this in a writing class, you should get around a C-.
    You should ask your teacher for some honest feedback. No-one here can explain why he gave you an F minus.
    By the way, what's your teacher's English like? Is there any competition between the two of you?

  6. #6
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Please grade my essay

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I'm not going to comment on everything. If you were a native speaker and presented this in a writing class, you should get around a C-
    Oh no, Ray.

    This essay had exactly two ideas

    1) There is only one superpower in the world today
    2) It is the US

    The asker can't get college credit for that.

    He even loses all credit for his pretty good use of English because of the incomprehensible passages. What's the use of knowing how to speak English if it doesn't lead to actual sentences?

    I think the professor was cheesed off at what seems to be a deeply insincere snow job.
    Last edited by Ann1977; 06-Oct-2009 at 03:27.

  7. #7
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please grade my essay

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    Oh no, Ray.
    It depends entirely on what you're comparing it to. Obviously his teacher has given no marks for grammar, which sounds strange in an EFL class. Maybe C- is generous, but F-? What mark do you give to the other students who can't even write in English? How far down the alphabet do the markings go?
    What did the worse essay in the class get?

  8. #8
    Zodiak is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Please grade my essay

    Hey, thank you for your feedback (and apologies for wasting three minutes of your precious time). I admit I didn't care much about the content, so in essence that was a snow job, but then the topic itself is quite complicated and thus deserves an entire book worth of arguements and research, and I obviously couldn't afford such luxury. But I trust your judgment and totally agree that perhaps the content is too vague and lacks structure, though all I wanted to say was that the world needs a policeman and no one but the US can do it. Can't really argue with that, can we? Still, thank you and sorry for wasting your time. It's not about the mark, I'm not gonna get in trouble for that, it's just a regular essay, we write plenty of these, but I was just surprised by the totally negative attitude towards it from my teacher (whom I don't really know well yet, since he's new). Cheers!

    P.S. And one last thing... I might have cast some negative light onto Russia here, so please trust me when I say that it's absolutely not about the political side of things and not about not being allowed to argue with teachers. It really isn't all that different from the rest of world (or at least Britain, because I used to attend Foundation level classes in a British university but had to leave). Just a regular English class. The topics, though, are political because my major is, basically, international political science. So to put it short, we ARE allowed to hate/like/not care about the US or any other country, no one's gonna censor our opinion. Therefore the most logical explanation for the mark must be that he just didn't like the structure at all.
    Last edited by Zodiak; 06-Oct-2009 at 14:13.

  9. #9
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Please grade my essay

    Quote Originally Posted by Zodiak View Post
    Hey, thank you for your feedback (and apologies for wasting three minutes of your precious time). I admit I didn't care much about the content, so in essence that was a snow job, but then the topic itself is quite complicated and thus deserves an entire book worth of arguements and research, and I obviously couldn't afford such luxury. But I trust your judgment and totally agree that perhaps the content is too vague and lacks structure, though all I wanted to say was that the world needs a policeman and no one but the US can do it. Can't really argue with that, can we? Still, thank you and sorry for wasting your time. It's not about the mark, I'm not gonna get in trouble for that, it's just a regular essay, we write plenty of these, but I was just surprised by the totally negative attitude towards it from my teacher (whom I don't really know well yet, since he's new). Cheers!

    P.S. And one last thing... I might have cast some negative light onto Russia here, so please trust me when I say that it's absolutely not about the political side of things and not about not being allowed to argue with teachers. It really isn't all that different from the rest of world (or at least Britain, because I used to attend Foundation level classes in a British university but had to leave). Just a regular English class. The topics, though, are political because my major is, basically, international political science. So to put it short, we ARE allowed to hate/like/not care about the US or any other country, no one's gonna censor our opinion. Therefore the most logical explanation for the mark must be that he just didn't like the structure at all.
    Zodiac, it's much more than "he didn't like the structure at all." The paper must have actually OFFENDED the professor. Not only did you disrespect the assignment so much that you made no effort to plan out the little essay, you didn't even bother to plan out the SENTENCES. Not only did you have no ideas, you had no intention of bothering to come up with any.

    The whole thing reads like you're flipping him the bird.

    I think the F was for content, unmitigated by the C- or D+ for English -- but the MINUS was for turning in such a blatantly disrespectful attempt to just "shut him up" so he'd leave you alone with your wonderfulness and stop pesting you with his absurd "assignments."

    You might as well have turned in a paper that said, "Look, you old clown, I'm not interested in this assignment because it's stupid -- but not as stupid as you. Here, Rover! -- I'll let you jump for my table scraps. I'll dazzle you with my ease with the English language, and as for the rest of it -- you can stuff it. Now . . . where's my A?"



    The essay is not correctable, but it is analyzable, and I'll do that if you write back that you're interested. But be aware that my remarks will serve only to rip it apart.

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