Monday, March 31, 2008

Stuff for Other Classes

A couple of students have asked me to look at work they've done for other classes. I'm uncomfortable about the idea. So far, it's two students, and I'm considerably more uncomfortable about one than the other.

S/he says s/he wants to revise for the practice, so s/he can do better. That's laudable.

But I don't want to get put in the position of criticizing another faculty member, especially without seeing the assignment information.

And I don't want to do grammar editing, because I suck at and hate grammar editing.

I was considerably more fretful about this half an hour ago, but my office hour is half over, and neither student has come to see me.

(And even though blogger SAYS it's Monday, it's really Tuesday here, and I'm not playing any April's Fools jokes.)


  1. Why not just recommend that they see the instructor who assigned the paper? You can always explain that that person has his/her own criteria, and you're not sure of /her/his expectations.

    A student of mine once freaked when I gave her a paper back to revise, because she said one of her other teacher's looked it over and said it was fine...which made me have serious doubts about this other teacher because the paper was the exact opposite of fine.

    Better not to play that game!

  2. Anonymous2:47 PM

    I have had students ask me what I think about a design piece before telling me it is for another class. So far my critique has always been in line with their professor. I try not to say too much because I don't want to undermine the other prof. Thankfuly most of the people I work with are very specific on changes that need to be made with student work.

    At the same time I think it can be good for a student to feel they can talk to someone in the department besides the professor. It may ease the criticism and help retention.

  3. Charlotte, I think students realize that profs in most subject areas aren't adept at talking about how arguments are constructed or at explaining grammar or usage issues. So they turn to the people who teach such things, and in my world, that's comp and English folks.

    Most college instructors are either 1) so overwhelmed with work that they don't think they have time to work on or talk about writing in their classes, and/or 2) not confident about writing (often because they think that means grammar) and so uncomfortable talking to students about writing.

    I'm as hard up for time as the next, usually, but I think that making good arguments is so important that I'm willing to put some extra time there with students who are interested.

    Urbanartiste, I agree. Students need to feel that they can get help and feedback.

  4. Duly chastened. I see your point about willing to help students who actually want it.

  5. Charlotte, sorry if I sounded chastening; I didn't mean to! I wouldn't be where I am now if several profs hadn't gone out of their ways to help me when I asked, or when they noticed I needed some help. I owe them to pass the care on.