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You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But You Can’t Make It Read the Syllabus

Today’s thought comes from a friend’s Facebook comment:  “help...students not reading the syllabus then getting burned at the end of the semester, it is so sad to see..”

One of her friends commented,: "Yeah...I give my (esl) students a syllabus activity on the first day and a syllabus quiz the next day during the first week of class. It helps a little, but not as much as you'd think.”

It seems one of the hardest and most important lessons we all have to learn--what is expected of us? How often have we been stung by not reading and/or following the directions??

Students are an amazing microcosm of Biblical truths. Every semester, I see some episode from the Bible carried out in living color. The more I read the Bible, the more I see it describes human nature, from the greatest aspiration to the grimmest desperation.

On the first day, I summarize the syllabus orally to everyone with the info on the projection screen.

“Verily, I say unto thee: if thou wouldst completely muck up your life in this course, then certainly partaketh of these activities of villainy. Forsooth and these are the times and seasons when such temptations will nigh come upon thee mightily with great force and determination. And the wise shall abide these warnings of mine, resisting the despair that leadeth to the succumbing thereof, but those who forget, yea even their very heart shall fail, and the pit of plagiarism and web of collusion shall claimeth them. Woe unto any in their company in that fateful hour; for do not think that thou by any means escape unscathed, but also be dragged into the snare by your pity for their plight or ignorance of the wildness of their desperation. Here ends this reading of the words of the instructor. Bind them to your web browser and engrave them in your smart phone. Amen.”


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