Stupid teaching venting warning.

I do not know what else to do. I teach advanced college students. I make them outlines. We go over examples. I will even look at drafts. But most of them wait until the last minute and then turn in some truly, truly bad work.

Many of them CLEARLY do not look at any of the outlines or examples and then complain that I'm not clear.

We're at the mid-point of the semester and I'm trying to pull back from the writing Mad Libs game and force them to think on their own. This last assignment involved covering a fashion show. We went over examples. We talked about vocabulary and how "it's pretty" isn't enough, that we needed specifics.We practiced in class.

In the assignment, I gave a couple suggestions of topics they could include - background of the designer, where the show was held, influences, etc.

The result is that some students wrote about everything BUT the fashion on the runway. They didn't talk about the clothes at all. They wrote about the other stuff.

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Because I didn't say explicitly - the clothes on the runway should be the main focus on your story about the fashion show - these students are upset. Am I being ridiculous? This seems like something that would be COMPLETELY OBVIOUS.

Frankly, I really worry about most of my students. They seem to need SO MUCH hand holding that I do not think they will be able to get and keep a job. Am I expecting too much?