“LOL” Is Not A Grade (And We’re Not Facebook Friends, Either)

The picture you have just witnessed is not a reenactment. It’s an actual shot, taken by my equally-disturbed friend, of a comment made by a professor on an assignment of mine.
…Excuse me?
But the trauma doesn’t end there.
I obviously set the picture as my default on Facebook, and then two days later received a friend request from the teacher.
Wait, I’m sorry–WHAT?!
Since this unfortunately isn’t the first time I’ve encountered either problem, it’s subsequently been the last straw. The way I see it, there are two major problems in this situation:
1) If, in my papers, I’m not writing “haha” after a witty comment, or “OMG!” following a shocking statistic, the professor has no right to use Internet jargon in his or her grading. It’s college, and there needs to be some sort of reciprocated academic professionalism.
2) Professors and their current students should not be Facebook friends. Not only does it break down the fourth wall, it seriously messes up the dynamic of the student-teacher relationship. Facebook and MySpace are web sites I will post ramblings about my day and pictures from my weekend–things that have no relation to my class or relevance to my professor.
On the other hand, what if I want to post something about the class or–gulp–teacher? I should have the freedom to do so. Our social networking site profiles serve as our virtual bedrooms, and I certainly wouldn’t have a professor over to hang out while I’m still enrolled in his or her class. Are you kidding me?
I’m all for forming personal relationships with professors in an academic setting–for guidance and those glowing recommendation letters. But if I add my professor on Facebook, I run the risk of opening a door that should be locked forever (or at least the rest of the semester!). She’ll have the opportunity to form an opinion of me based on non-classroom factors she shouldn’t even have access to.
If I don’t add her back, what if she holds it against me when grading? I know it’s against the ol’ legal rules to do that, but the same way that a teacher who likes you personally may grade a tad bit easier, a professor with a personal vengeance against you–who was denied entrance and acceptance into your world–could easily mark off an extra point or two.
If we wanted to communicate with our professors on the Internet, we’d their e-mails.
So to all professors ready to send some friend requests in our direction: stay away from “Our Space” and we’ll stay away from yours, LOL!
[Photo credit Chelsea London Phillips]

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