Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Where People Are Wrong.

In reply to a number of missives, no, professors don't rate students by giving grades. The grades I give students are entirely about the work they do in my class. And yes, of course there are some students I 'like' more than others, but don't you imagine that any professional can separate the personal and the professional?

Some of my favorite students have been among my weakest, in part because I see myself in them at that age. They work hard, but the work is barely passing. On the other hand, smart kids who've had a lot of advantages in high school come in to my class with bad work habits but a strong background. They do well on their work, despite the fact that they are annoying, grade-grubbing, and all the rest. They earn A's, despite what I actually think of them, despite how I would rate them as a student.

I prefer students who are a challenge, who question me, who push me to do a better job. Students who are mute, mellow, arrogant, or disengaged are missing the point of college, and it never fails to annoy me.

In reply to a couple of posters, I don't suppose faculty members will send in a lot of "positive" ratings. I imagine this is because professors will use this site to work out some frustration that is created by unfair and anonymous ratings of their own. Is that fair? I wasn't aware we were going for that, so perhaps not. Do I have a ton of great students? Absolutely. They don't frustrate me. They make my days better. I should just say, "Good on you," to those students every once in a while, and I hope that I do over the course of a semester.

But Rate Your Students is a blog where we come together to bark at the moon when we get sick and tired of our entire careers being reduced to whether we're "hot" or not, and where any chickenshit student can blast away anonymously with falsehoods.