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The Pen Is Mightier/My Beef With: Tech Writing Classes Are Bullshit.

Posted on April 15, 2013 at 9:05 AM

I am sick of Tech Writing class.

Granted, a lot of my irritation is near-graduation fatigue (yes, I'll finally be graduating with my A.A.A.S. soon! ^0^), but really. REALLY. FUCKING REALLY, you just don't even know. You really don't even know about this particular Tech Writing class.

Now, to be clear with you guys, I have zero issue with Technical Writing itself. Tech Writing is an important tool for anyone going into any field. You just need to know how to write professional-sounding, decent letters, resumes, emails, reports, documents, and all sorts of other sundry things that need to go into a business or scholarly setting. For me, going into one of the sciences, I need to know how to write up a good scientific report on findings from experiments, tests, and quality control things. I'm gonna be going into a field where accuracy and detail is everything, because me being anal about some pill being tested could mean the difference between retail and recall, or between a proper dose and going over the LD-50. For others, it could mean the difference between a profit and a loss, whether a product sells or doesn't, or how well the end user understands the instructions they've been given. All that EULA bullshit you've probably skipped over? Yup, someone was paid to write that. Tech Writing is basically everything creative writing isn't, and that's a hell of a lot of important stuff. In the world, you need your creative stuff, and then you need the real stuff, the stuff that actually makes the real world tick. Both things are very, very important in world literature, and far be it from me to decry the importance of writing a resume just because at the moment my mind is more focused on writing a scary story or a poem about willow trees.

That all said, Tech Writing classes? They're bullshit.

You heard me. Tech Writing classes, as required college classes necessary to get a degree, are bullshit. They don't need to exist. They don't need to be a thing. The skills one learns in a Tech Writing class are skills you should have learned in another English class or throughout your college education. Do you know how I learned to write a Resume? Through my Intro to Chem Tech class, from a professor I enjoyed having. Do you know how I learned to write a decent scientific report? From my AP Bio teacher, and my tough-as-nails Orgo Chem professor. Do you know how I learned how to write a report properly to begin with? Four years of AP English in high school. I know how to do half this shit already, I don't need to learn it again. I respect the fact that some people haven't learned this stuff, and that's fine - but when a good chunk of people in a class have their laptops out and aren't even taking notes because they know the material already, shouldn't there be a way to test out of the damn class and not have to take it, because yes, you do in fact know it already? I shouldn't have to pay for a class I don't really need just to prove to others I don't need it. I shouldn't have to waste my time, gas, and money on stuff that could be implemented into other classes as part of the curriculum without any trouble whatsoever.

And I'm sorry about this, but I am about to brag, a lot (Is it technically bragging if it's all true stuff?). I swear on my life I'm not trying to be an Insufferable Genius, but it's important you know exactly where some of my irritation is coming from here. Chances are, if you're also good at English, then you probably share a lot of my same frustration with English classes as well.

I actually took two AP English tests in High School my senior year - English Language and Comp (grammar and word use and stuff), and English Lit and Comp (which is more like story analysis) - and I passed both of them with 5's, which is the highest you can get on an AP test (at least in my home state. I was one of just two people to take both tests, and one of maybe five or six people who got 5's on the Lit and Comp exam. Not only that, but I have always been good at English - I regularly get A's and B's on anything I write and put together even if I'm barely trying - I once wrote some shitty little timed writing thing over lunch because I forgot to do it the night before, and I got high marks on it from my flamboyant and picky AP English teacher, even after I admitted that I half-assed it. Even when I think I do a shitty job on a story, most people seem to think the exact opposite, which honestly confuses me some of the time. I taught myself to read when I was four, and was reading at a college level by the second grade. I am fed ducking serious on that last part, I was reading Harry Potter in the second grade with extreme ease and had to bring my own reading material to class, because the material in school was way too simple for me. And yes, really, I taught myself how to read when I was in preschool - my mom once walked in on me doing what she thought was me pretending to read a picture book aloud, and was shocked to realize I actually was reading the words out loud. I even remember her pointing to words in the picture book and asking what the word was, and then me saying what the word was. I dunno what clicked in my mind to make that shit happen (maybe I was relating the pictures to what the words said and forming connections that way?), but to this day I am still excellent at seeing new words, relating them to images in my mind, and using that as a way to add to my vocabulary. To the point that I rarely find a word I don't know the meaning of or can't extrapolate the meaning from on my own, and most of the words I'm unfamilar with or just learned are rare and exotic words like defenestrate (to throw something out of a window), floccinaucinihilipilification (the categorization of something trivial or unimportant), and psithurism (the sound of leaves rustling in the wind). Those are just some of my favorite weird words by the way; guess which one is the name of an actual story in a certain fandom of mine and you get bonus points. ^_~

But anyway, back to what you really care about, the angry rant about Tech Writing classes. Let me tell you a few things about my Tech Writing professor, and a little about what spurred this blog entry. My Tech Writing professor is literally a dowdy old English professor (as many of them are) who has never married, has been in the boring, boring world of business her whole life, and actually once seriously, I shit you not, corrected someone at a movie theater box office for misusing an apostrophe on a movie poster, something the theater had no control over anyway (seriously lady, it's not like they print the posters). She likes to ramble on and on about her business stories, which various members of the class have complained about and which really don't add to the learning at all; in fact, I think she does it under the misguided assumption that she's helping us make connections, when really all she's doing is making us wish that the class was over with for the day already. People have complained to her about the relevancy of her silly little business stories before and she just refuses to listen, because she's set in her ways. Her voice is this awful drone that's so easy to tune out. I swear she doesn't have a life outside of the college. She has the most arbitrary lateness rules I have ever seen and she grades based on her opinion of a piece, not based on whether the writing actually fucking holds up, which newsflash, you mooing moron, is what you're SUPPOSED to fucking grade on in an English class. She once blatantly looked me in the face, gave me a 0 on a document because it was late, and it was only one day late and I had asked nicely for an extension prior to that which she said she would give to me. She teaches out of the book and reads along with it like she thinks we can't do it for ourselves - hey wait a minute, isn't book-reading something the student is supposed to do, you know, on their own, at home on their own time? Not in class with the teacher lecturing right out of the book and teaching us nothing as a result? Just... she is not a good professor, and every little thing she does irks the shit out of me. Everything. I've blatantly skipped class twice (we have a 2-skip limit before attendance starts to get affected) just because I can't deal with her bullshit sometimes, and normally I am ace-straight on my attendance and never miss a class unless I get really, really sick. Her class is a chore to me, and it's pretty blatantly a chore to everyone else too, because half the class is on their laptops during the course of the lecture, doing everything but taking notes on her incessant rambling.

So what triggered me to write this shit out and get it off my chest? Well I have a speech I have to make in that class soon (which seriously, holy fruitless endeavors, Batman) about a website I've analyzed. I've already done a full report on it, the first part of the assignment, and now for whatever arbitrary reason I also have to make a speech on it. Not too tough, I'm taking Public Speaking right now and I've done just fine on it. But the way she wants me to do it... she won't let me use notecards, she wants a damn outline, which just encourages people to stare at the damn page. She wants me to have visual cues (if I want), like what the fuck would I even do with a visual cue? I don't need that shit, it's just extraneous words on the page, and I already know I need to smile, pause, and make eye contact. Oh, and she wants the fucking outline and draft? To be in 14-point fucking font.

This. Is. 14. Point. Font.

That is how big she wants the words on the page. To compare, the text in this paragraph right now is about 10-point font. What the shit would I even need 14-point font for? I'm not 80. I'm not blind. Yes, I wear glasses, because I am nearsighted, not farsighted; that doesn't mean I need 14-point fucking font, lady. In fact I can see my normal 10- to 12-point Calibri font on my little note cards just fucking fine, why on earth would I ever want to use 14-point font and double-spacing on an outline? Do you have any fucking idea how damn expanded that would make my outline? I would have to have five pages just to get my details across properly! 14-point font is WAY too big, why would you ever type anything that size for any reason?

When I read that shit in the assignment breifing, I just. Exploded. I couldn't believe that shit. In fact, I got so pissed I went to complain on Skype about it, to a Skype group I'm in, when nobody else was online just so I could get that shit off my chest. Here's the actual word for word, verbatim rant I posted, which is a lot angrier than the above stuff and a lot less well thought out. But it basically hits on everything I just said, and why Tech Writing classes are a problem.

[8:54:03 AM] DarkShadows: Okay tech writing professor. I have put up with your BS all damn semester, but this is fucking it. 14. point. font. for a speech.

[8:54:12 AM] DarkShadows: I'm not 80. I can read 12 point font.

[8:54:37 AM] DarkShadows: 14 point font. *for a speech outline*. Do you *know* how fucking long that will make my speech outline? You know I type long.

[8:54:42 AM] DarkShadows: you're an english professor.

[8:54:46 AM] DarkShadows: you know this shit about me.

[8:54:56 AM] DarkShadows: why 14 point font? I can see 12 point just fine.

[8:55:21 AM | Edited 8:55:26 AM] DarkShadows: Even my actual public speaking professor would be appalled.

[8:55:58 AM] DarkShadows: You already wouldn't fucking take my one assignment for the, oh woop-dee-doo, GRAND HEINOUS SIN OF BEING ONE DAY LATE.

[8:56:31 AM] DarkShadows: So that's 10 fucking points down the drain. Maybe you'd get the point if you'd notice the fact that your students *do not give a shit about your class*, and are doing it to get a damn degree.

[8:56:58 AM] DarkShadows: *I know how to do half the shit you taught me already*. I learned more about how to write a decent scientific report through my *chemistry professor* than through you.

[8:57:04 AM] DarkShadows: You are a terrible fucking professor. Get fired.

[8:57:52 AM] DarkShadows: You talk all the fucking time. You never teach us anything. You sit there in your little swivel chair and go through every point of the fucking book verbatim; wait, aren't WE supposed to be reading that shit? because I fucking guarantee that *nobody is*, and they're all still getting A's.

[8:58:06 AM] DarkShadows: Because you are a terrible fucking professor and you do a shit job of actually teaching us anything.

[8:58:11 AM] DarkShadows: You're more like a guide than a teacher.

[8:58:56 AM] DarkShadows: Half of us bring our laptops to class everyday and surf online while you're blathering about business stories and stuff we already fucking know how to do from other classes, and you do not. even. fucking. notice.

[8:59:21 AM] DarkShadows: The Observer could appear behind your damn swivel chair, and you wouldn't even know until he fucked with your computer, fucked with the book, and fucked with half of the students.

[9:00:21 AM] DarkShadows: There is literaly nothing. to be learned. from your class. That most of us haven't learned already. Okay, half of us are business majors, but the other half of us are a hodgepodge of students from various areas of academia, and that half *have done labs where we write shit up in the most formal way possible*.

[9:00:55 AM] DarkShadows: I got fucking fives on both my AP english exams in high school. I *skipped out of English in college because I am already beyond a college reading level and have been since I was seven years old.*

[9:01:57 AM] DarkShadows: I was taught how to write a decent scientific report in AP Bio. I have continued to do so in college and I have never gotten less than a B on a paper of mine. Even you give me B's and A's on my paper and you are a *picky fucking English professor*.

[9:02:30 AM] DarkShadows: So don't talk down to me, don't talk down to half the class who needed decent college-level english to get this far, this is a 200 level class.

[9:02:34 AM] DarkShadows: God. Damn.

[9:02:47 AM] DarkShadows: I would NOT recommend you as a professor to fucking anyone, ever, because *you are awful at it.*

[9:03:21 AM] DarkShadows: Find another job, maybe go be someone's editor. it's clear you don't wanna be here, and you have no life otherwise. And I think I've made it pretty clear that *I* don't wanna be here, because I actually *have* a life.

[9:03:59 AM] DarkShadows: Fuck you, fuck your word limits, fuck your PAGE limits, and fuck your arbitrary lateness rules when I *sent you a goddamn email explaining I forgot and needed a fucking extension, because MY LIFE IS FUCKING BUSY.*

[9:04:47 AM] DarkShadows: Maybe YOU have all the time in the world and no life, but I? I actually have a fucking life. I have two jobs. I have family obligations. I have *school* obligations that come before your stupid petty little BS tech writing class. In the future this class? Will mean *nothing to me* because I have already done this shit.

[9:05:16 AM] DarkShadows: I'm a good enough writer to actually pass this class while *barely* doing the minimum amount of work. Why the hell can't I *test out of this shit*?

[9:05:44 AM] DarkShadows: And by "pass the class", I mean I can type some BS thing in one night, turn it in, and still get a B or better on it.

[9:06:23 AM] DarkShadows: English is my strongpoint, I'm a fucking author. And I fucking know how to work words in such a way that it sounds however the hell you want. Give me. Some damn. Credit.

[9:06:44 AM] DarkShadows: I learned maybe one thing: how to be less wordy. That's it. It was NOT worth the money I paid for this class.

[9:07:02 AM] DarkShadows: This class is not worth it, I don't care if it's necessary. A BETTER PROFESSOR IS NEEDED.

[9:07:58 AM] DarkShadows: Or an ONLINE version of the class so I don't have to waste time, gas, and money going to school twice a week just to hear your stupid ass ramble on about past business ventures. I didn't pay for story hour, I *paid to be fucking taught something*.

[9:08:11 AM] DarkShadows: This class is bull.

[9:08:13 AM] DarkShadows: fuck.

[9:08:15 AM] DarkShadows: damn.

[9:08:16 AM] DarkShadows: shit.

[9:08:18 AM] DarkShadows: urgh.

[9:08:21 AM] DarkShadows: rant over.

Yeah, I was NOT happy. Also, my real Skype username isn't "DarkShadows", it's just what I chose for the visible username, so no - you do not now have my Skype username, sorry, have a nice day ya creeper.

Now excuse me, I have to go get lunch because I'm hungry and I need something to get me through that excuse of a worthwhile class.

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