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Thursday, May 18, 2017

A little whining--from me, too...

So, three students have sent emails complaining about their grades. I responded to two of them: one with kindness and compassion; one initially with terse authoritarianism. The third I haven't responded to yet--and I'm going to take my time over that one. My initial response internally in all three cases is the same: the thought, "You shouldn't be surprised; you should have been tracking your own grade all along." The first one I responded to more compassionately: it was from the Tough Cookie, who turned out not to be so tough after all. She was frantic to transfer, so I reminded her she could retake the class over the summer--but I didn't back off on the grade (and if I were to reproduce her final essay here, you'd probably see why). The second simply pissed me off, as the student said I "should" have warned him so he could withdraw. He got my raw thought: "You should have been tracking your own grade." But he then wrote a much sweeter email (or I choose to take it that way; it may have been dripping with sarcasm, but I'll treat it as genuine), saying that at least he worked hard--so I wrote back and agreed with him, and provided a little more compassion and encouragement.

Both those students failed the class. (Both were in the 1:00 section of 102.) The third student got a D+, and wrote to say that she only missed a few homeworks and so she thought the grade was "harsh." My immediate thought is that turning the work in isn't the same as doing well on it--and she hadn't done well on it, especially not at first. But I'm wondering whether I can in good conscience change her grade to a C. I don't like being subjected to emotional blackmail, however, which is why I'm waiting before I respond. (Waiting before I respond is usually a good idea anyway.) I'll think about it--and I'll be in touch eventually.

But getting her message made me realize that I need to have my automated "out of office" reply thing set up starting right now; I was going to have it start after commencement, but I've already backed way off checking (not to mention responding), and people should know that.

So, that's the whining from students (so far; there probably will be more).

The whining from me is entirely internal, and takes the form of "Oh, I don't want to deal with that now." I took a look at the online Nature in Lit--which I really do have to work on over the summer, for reasons I've explained in other posts--and I like what I've done, but ... nope. I don't have it in me to do anything with it now. It will be work. I need to loaf for a while. (The fact that it's hot as blazes increases the desire to loaf, as if it weren't already pretty powerful.)

And the same general idea applies to my prep for my fall 101s. I think I want to change one of the readings (since one of the adjuncts I observed used something I think will work very well), but mostly I just need to adjust the schedule--and copy all the discussion board stuff to the new semester, which means making sure all the dates are correct and so on, which means having the syllabus pulled together...

Nope. Work. Not doing it.

Getting my syllabus and schedule of assignments for Science Fiction ready?

Nope. Work.

Producing my very pretty, color-coded weekly schedule?

OK. That I can do.

1 comment:

  1. Tonia, believe it or not, I who have pursued such a dramatically different pedagogical course from yours, now at the end of my career empathize with the full range of your emotional responses to these complaining students. In spite of everything, I who am about to leave salute you. Barry

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