My worst nightmare

November 19, 2004

A student of the kind that most aggravates a lecturer's ulcers - she was lazy, dim and hated me - had written an essay cribbed mostly from the Encyclopaedia Britannica . Rather than report the plagiarism, I did the softer thing by giving her 20 per cent and failing it. Weeks later, she cornered me in the bar and began enthusing about how she had warmed to the subject and to me after I had given her full marks for her last essay. It was then I realised I had inadvertently graded her essay at 120 per cent.

She didn't take the truth graciously. But I look on the bright side: this has been the only student in my career to date to have called me a wanker.

Simon Francis lectures in politics at the Open University.

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