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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

An appropriate title eludes me

I was going to entitle this post "6 a.m. alarm--not." At the start of the day, that was certainly appropriate. The alarm went off at six, and I promptly reset it for seven. I'm paying for it now: it's 9:30, and I'm still here--and I'm going to have to bail on Advisement one more time tomorrow and work like a madwoman until god knows when, and get up god knows when on Thursday, in order to get everything graded for the SF students. I didn't get all the papers graded for M&D today: I have no earthly clue what happened to this morning, but it wasn't paper grading, that's for sure.

I thought about titling this post "Because I said so": I had to get into that particular argument with a student from SF today after class. For the second time, he didn't submit his essay to Turnitin, and when I pointed that out to him, he said it was because he didn't know how. I said that the time to talk to me about that would have been with the first paper, not after the second one, and after spending some time trying to get me to explain to him how to submit to Turnitin (moot point now, buddy), he then started to ask me why he needed to. I said, "Because it's one of my requirements." "But why? I've never had to do this for any of my other classes." "It's one of my requirements." "But why?" "I don't have to justify my requirements to you. It's one of my requirements. If you don't know how to do it, it's your job to learn how to do it." "But why do I have to do it? I've never had to do it for any of my other classes." "Because I said so." "But Why?" "Because I said so. That's it. Because I said so. So at this point, both your essays are zeroes. So get a withdrawal slip and withdraw."

I'll bet you even money that he doesn't do it, that he just vanishes.

But then I had to talk with four other students who also either hadn't submitted the essay to Turnitin, hadn't submitted the hard copy, or both. Consequently, I was 15 minutes late to P&B.

Yech. Whatever. I'm being merciful with three of the other students (and yet another who was just monstrously late with everything, but I've already told her that as long as she turns in the work she'll pass, so, well, there you go)--and one of them, I'm on the fence with. I wrote a whole e-mail to him about why I wasn't going to accept the paper at all--mostly because he pays lip service to the "I take responsibility" thing but then clearly doesn't, as I still don't have either the hard copy or the upload to Turnitin, despite the fact that he says he had the paper finished on Wednesday of last week--but I'm not sure yet what I think the kid needs. Sometimes I think the student needs the swan-dive into the pavement--like Mr. "But Why?" Sometimes, I think a little mercy doesn't hurt--and since the mercy D gets them the associate's degree but doesn't transfer anyway, why not. But I really don't like feeling jerked around. And I do feel jerked around, by two of these students. I'm giving one of them the mercy D because honestly, if he'd been on top of the work from jump street, he could have done extremely well. This "I take responsibility but I don't really" student is walking the edge of a C anyway, and I've been pretty kind to him about that.

Oh, I don't know. I'm tired and cranky. And being here is probably exactly the last place I should be if I don't want to be even more tired and cranky tomorrow.

But the final possible title for today's post could have been "Perfection is unattainable--but excellence is within reach." The former 101 student, now in M&D, who has been in to see me a few times for mentoring about where to go to continue her academic career, just turned in another absolutely brilliant, beautiful paper. The top mark for those papers is 400 points: this was her second 400 point paper. Just for fun, I broke out the gold stars. Really: literally. I have a pack of little foil stars in various colors, including gold. Instead of writing "good" or "excellent" or something in the margins, I just put a gold star.

And that's the note I want to end the day on. A beautifully written, intelligent, sensitive, insightful paper. Gold star.

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