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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

In the office...

I haven't been here long, and haven't done much--in part because I know I'm going to have to come back tomorrow. One of the students who is fulfilling an incomplete needs to drop off one more part of the final assignment, and I need to talk to Cathy about a few things.

Here's what I accomplished: I responded to a student who had sent an email wondering why she got a D+ when she thought she was doing well. I sent her the grade calculation sheet, and her grade technically works out to a 67.15, which is indeed a D+. However, adding three of the missed reading journals in, using the average mark that she made, would get her just over the crest into a C--so I just gave her the points and submitted the change of grade request.

I made that decision largely in the context of the student who was whining and complaining and making a huge stink about her D+ earlier. Two factors played into today's decision. Factor one: this other student wrote a very respectful, calm, mature email, simply asking if I could explain why she got the grade she did. There was no whining about how harsh I was, how unfair the grade was, none of that. When I got her email--three weeks ago now--I responded to let her know that I'd have to check my records and let her know. I've not heard anything, which might mean she's not checking email but which might also mean that she was doing what I asked, which was to wait until I could get back to her. So, her adult behavior got her a lot of Brownie points. Factor two: this other student's essays actually were all C-level essays (unlike the whiner, whose final essay was a bit of a train-wreck, as I think I mentioned)--and this other student came to see me several times to get extra help, talked to me after class, was very proactive in her own learning process. So not only was her writing more deserving of the C grade, she worked to learn something to earn that C. So, if I gave the whiner a C despite her not really deserving it, I figure this student should get the same bump up to a better grade, as she's a great deal more deserving.

As for the students fulfilling those incompletes: I'm a little nervous about reading the essay for the one who was guilty of triggering some plagiarism flags. I gave her the incomplete so she'd have a chance at a higher grade--and honestly, right now, I can't remember if a C would be good enough for her or if she's really hoping for a B, and I can't remember (and am too lazy to dig out the paperwork to find out) where she stands. The other student should do just fine: she's good for at least a B+, possibly even an A, depending on how this final version looks.

But I am too tired and lazy to deal with either one of those today. I've been having a lot of disrupted sleep the last few nights, and between that and the heat, my brain feels limp and wilted, certainly not ready to read and think carefully about student writing.

One other little note about today: when I was in Cathy's office, working on adjunct schedules, a young woman came in to the office, and I overheard her talking to the secretary on duty about how she already has a bachelor's degree from someplace good (I forget where right now) and she wants to get a bio degree here but doesn't think she should have to take our comp sequence... I went out to talk with her: she was agitated and clearly was expecting to have to fight to get the comp requirements waived--but I explained that the only reason it was coming up is because none of her courses specifically lines up with our Comp 1, but that of course it would be ridiculous for her to have to take freshman comp after she's written a 25-page thesis to get her degree. I'll talk to Cathy about it, as I don't know what administrative hoops we have to jump through--but I also mentioned that we will soon be running a course on writing in the sciences, and the student lit up like the Fourth of July: she'd love that; she'd take it in a heart beat. I told her it's still a 100-level course, but she was thrilled at the thought. It was nice to be able to calm her down, let her know we're not going to be unreasonable about this--and to get confirmation of my initial impression, which is that this is a student who wants to learn; she just doesn't want to take courses that are ridiculously elementary given her clear accomplishments. She left a lot happier than she came in, that's for sure--and I'll get back to her tomorrow about whatever Cathy says.

Now, even though I cast my gaze in the general direction of my desk and see huge piles of stuff that needs to be taken care of and cleared away, I am going to blithely ignore it and toddle off toward home. Maybe I'll get more done here tomorrow, or maybe not. Whatever. I'm off like a prom dress...

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