Thursday, May 31, 2007

Enough Regret to Go Around

I've just been alerted by one of your classmates that you left a less-than-stellar review of my teaching on that dreaded Other Site Not to Be Named. She even graciously copied and pasted it into an email message for me. Yes, you left it anonymously, but did you really think I wouldn't recognize your writing style after sixteen weeks of reading it?

I see you think that I "ruined" your GPA by giving you the grade you earned, a B. It seems that none of your previous English professors at my college ever gave you anything lower than an A, so that means all other English faculty must be bound by their judgment. You are dismayed that I actually graded you in a literature class based on the quality of your writing style. So you are telling the world that you are shocked your writing ability was the major component of your grade:
  • in a literature class, which is devoted to great writing

  • taught in an English department

  • presumably a place that upholds writing and documentation standards

  • in a course designated as writing-intensive, which means the majority of your grade must come from your writing

  • taught by a professor with a degree in rhetoric

  • who spent the entire first week of class reviewing what she expected from you in terms of writing style
I offered an entire week before the major paper was due for you to submit your work to me for a conference, either online or in person. You had nothing else to do for my class that week. Several of your classmates took advantage of this, but you did not. I work very hard to present my standards clearly and make myself available to students both online and in person. I care deeply about student progress and learning and would have gladly worked with you. But now, because you thought you could rest on your previous instructors' assessments of your freshman-level work, you judge me to be a terrible professor and "truly regret" taking my class.

I can honestly say that, given your lack of engagement with your classmates and me coupled with your attitude of entitlement, I truly regret your having taken my class as well. Students like you make me sit down to calculate when I could take early retirement (and I'm still in my 30s!).