That’s pretty much my opinion today. Blah. Blah blah blah. I couldn’t wake up enough to drive safely, so I missed an appointment that will take months to reschedule.
For every assignment we do in the tech writing course I’m taking, we turn in a rough draft and receive two peer reviews and feedback from the instructor before doing the final draft. I got the two peer reviews this morning from the assignment I turned in on Sunday, and they were ridiculous. Seriously—both reviews were full of nonsense like, “your submission wasn’t double-spaced” (that’s because the instructions said to single space it, doofus) or “there aren’t double spaces between the paragraphs” (yes, there are–I double-checked) or “you have to spell it ‘co-housing’ ” (not when the authorities in the field spell the word ‘cohousing’ kid).
They get graded on their peer reviews, as I’ve been on mine, so hopefully, they’ll get sucky grades. I got counted down on one of the first ones I did because I wasn’t harsh enough. Yes, that person’s piece needed a lot of work, and I could have ripped it to shreds. I was trying to stay “congenial” as instructed. My true thoughts were more along the lines of, “Why are you in this course? Only TCOM majors need to take it, and oh please $deity do NOT tell me you’re majoring in TCOM when you can hardly write a readable sentence.” That wouldn’t have been congenial, would it?
The idea behind the peer reviews is that most technical communicators work in teams now, so we have to get used to giving each other constructive criticism and accepting the same. I can handle that. I don’t, however, see why people who can’t manage to sort out “there” and “their,” or who don’t understand that an apostrophe does not mean HERE COMES AN “S” are even permitted in the course. They’re all supposed to have passed the basic English courses before taking anything in the TCOM department, but obviously “passing” and “mastering the material” are not closely related concepts.