Monday, May 18, 2009

Done and Overdone

I took a couple days and went on a short visit. It's amazing how quickly being in another household, one with totally different concerns and activities, can take my mind of certain frustrations and concerns. It was especially good to be away a bit after the service on Friday.

But then I came back.

I got my first grade complaint of the semester. The student is complaining about an A-. S/he agrees that it's a fair numerical grade, but wants me to change it anyway.

I just want to say, an A- is NOT going to keep you out of law school or whatever. It's not. Either it will be the lowest grade in your college career, in which case, your grades will rock, or it won't be the lowest grade in your college career. And even so, your gpa may rock.

I don't get impatient with a request for an explanation. It's important for students to understand how grades are figured, and this one was politely worded. I sent back a note showing my numbers and math, and suggesting that the student check my math.

But I do get impatient with the next step, the "please, please change my grade" part. And yes, I recognize that the student is probably worried about law school or whatever, and that a single grade can seem like a huge thing.

But the grade is fairly figured and what the student earned.

I'm worried about the bike trip. I haven't been on my bike in several days, and the weather is looking terrible. I was lazy today, partly because I'm just lazy, but partly because the winds were bad (supposedly gusting to 30mph). I get really tired of wind.


  1. I can relate. I was talking about how grade obsessed we are in my class the other day and how no one looks at GPA on a resume. One student got really belligerent and was talking about how he HAD to have a 4.0 and that he wouldn't accept anything less. Oh how I HATE students like him. Not only is he basically demanding an A, but he's doing so in a way that guarantees that I now hate him. It puts me in that awful, weird position of having to be meta-objective (objective about being objective when reading his work), which actually messes me up. Sometimes I overcompensate because of meta-objectivity, and actually give higher grades than I normally would to people I hate because I'm trying harder to be "fair" to him/her. Am I the only person who suffers from this?

    Most of my students are in their late 30s to late 40s because this is an adult education program, but this guy is in his late 20s. The other students really chaffed at his complete rejection of my philosophy - that we're here to learn, not to get good grades. Perhaps in fifteen years he'll get it, too, but something tells me he's the kind of person who won't EVER get it. Oh well.

  2. oh, for dog's sake. i never understood grade-begging, even as a student. understanding why, yes; understanding [during term] how to fix it, yes. telling a teacher i need a certain grade? no.

    for what it's worth, a person who would do that in pursuit of his/her future law degree needs to get some perspective. and life experience. nobody needs a lawyer who thinks he/she can always win on a golden tongue.

  3. Fie Upon This Quiet Life: I have definitely run into the meta-objectivity business and have definitely found myself (likely) overcompensating because I'm dealing with a student I actively dislike.

    Alas and alack.

  4. J. Harker - I'm glad it's not just me. I just got an email from this same student - who is now demanding that I tell him his grade on his paper from last week instead of waiting until tomorrow to get it back in class. I've not read the paper yet, and I'm not going to until an hour before class tomorrow. This is my own little (useless) revenge.