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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Got through it

I'm going to have to interrupt this, I suspect, as I'm waiting for one more student to show up. He's late--typically--so my only question is how long do I give him before I close the door. I suppose I can give him until 6:58; his appointment ends at 7, and if he shows up at that point, it will be too late to do anything. If he shows up before, well, we'll do the best we can with whatever time we have.

Meanwhile, about the day...

I didn't finish the last of the essays until I was in the middle of the stream of students, but there were often little gaps--one conference ended early, or the next student would show up a bit late--so I managed to even mark the one essay I'd told myself I could let go. And I did "let go" of one student: this is the kid who couldn't format his essay correctly--and, of course, that was the only thing he was interested in when he came to talk about revising. He hadn't actually looked at his e-mail to read my comments. Done. Next?

Actually, I didn't just toss him: I talked to him. He did the usual, "Is there any extra credit?" (me) "It was already built into the schedule." (him) "Is there any other extra credit?" (me, stealing a page from Kristin) "You didn't do the work I assigned; why would I ask you to do something else?" He wasn't going to accept it but I kept explaining that he couldn't do a semester's worth of work in the last five weeks, and he had so many zeroes or marks nowhere near passing that he'd passed the point of mathematical no return. We filled out the withdrawal form on the spot. Still remaining to be seen: if he has his shit enough together to submit it to the Registrar and make the withdrawal official.

The one unsurprising but still disappointing moment today was to find that a student had plagiarized. Only one student, so far--and he's the poor benighted kid who can't seem to understand instructions of the most basic sort. He came to his conference and admitted that his sister "helped" him with the essay--and that she must have taken something from the web... So, I pointed out, that's his sister doing a little too much of his work, if she's putting things into his essay that he isn't even aware are there. He tried--a little--to brazen out the "No, she just helped me" thing, and was a little agitated and defensive, but he also said he wasn't going to disrespect me and the zero "is what it is." True that. I asked him what his intentions are. I meant about the class, but he thought I meant academically in general, and he told me that he's going to finish this semester--for his father, he said--and then no more school for him. So I asked him whether he could withdraw from my course. No: he started with six classes, and he's down to two, so he needs to stay in mine.

Ultimately, the deal we made was that if everything he turns in from now on is 100% his, no help from his sister or anyone else, he'll pass. (It may be a mercy D, but he'll pass.) He agreed to that.

And then my favorite moment of the day: this skinny kid I could snap like a twig says, as he leaves my office, "OK, Sweetie, have a great weekend"--and he does the little "'tch' sound, thumb up, cool dude" thing. I couldn't see his face, but I bet you he winked. Hilarious. I managed not to laugh out loud while he was in earshot, but truly: it was completely ridiculous.

(The 7:00 bells just rang--which means it's 6:58. The door is closed; I've left a note for the student who didn't show. His attendance is a serious problem: he may be next for the axe to fall on.)

So, I have everything neatly organized in my tote bag to carry home for work over the weekend; I have a master triage list; my colleague Scott awaits me for a nice collegial dinner and "adult beverage" as he is wont to say--so I believe, unless something occurs to me in the next few minutes, that I will water the plants and then I'm outta here.

1 comment:

  1. It's beyond the 11th hour in what passes for my career at NCC. My bags are packed and in ready to go...(Not really or, as they say, LOL...yet I am not laughing .). Even Vladimir Kovalouniak told me with Russian gravitas that he envies my retiring. Who knew? Everybody. So it is beyond high time to express my regret that I didn't follow your example, Dr Payne, both pedagogically and blogospherically. Perhaps yet to be remedied from Port Townsend? Stay tuned. Morituri te salutamus.

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