Wednesday, December 17, 2008

When The Pain Comes, We Just Let It Out.

From the opening two sentences of M's paper: "Jane Austen did a great job on writing this book [Pride & Prejudice]. It had tense moments in which all I wanted to have happen was to see how the movie would come to an end." OK. So you didn't really read it, but couldn't you have at least faked it? Did you have to let me know up front that you'd just watched the movie? At least tell me which one: the 1948 Olivier version [doubtful]? Keira Knightley's [probably]?; either of the BBC versions from the 80s or 90s? [probably too long]. Sigh.

B: You were so worried about the third exam and how you'd do. But you haven't turned in either of the papers [40% of the course grade], and you haven't been in class often enough to even register on the 'preparedness and participation' scale for the course [10% of the course grade]. Why worry about the 50% that's left? Didn't you learn to figure percentages ['per cent' means 'per 100', or in the case of a grade, 'out of 100%']? I put a little 'refresher' course about this in the syllabus, but then you seem to have lost that the first week. Is this F you're getting going to be a shock to your system? Will I have to deal with a plaintive email asking why you flunked?

S: [Currently in critical condition and recovering from emergency surgery]: Get well soon! I can't believe the first thing you had your family do was to contact your instructors to find out how to deal with finals. I'm just giving you the grade you've earned so far [A-] with no need to do the final paper. The last thing you need now is the pressure of completing an 'Incomplete'. Here's to a speedy recovery. And I hope to see you in future classes.

T: When I emailed everyone to check their email the morning of the final regarding the possibility of bad roads, I didn't mean that the final was optional. I meant for everyone to check to see if I'd cancel it for the scheduled 7:30 a.m. time. As it turned out, the roads were fine, and everyone else made it to the final. And then you were annoyed when I wasn't in my office later for you take the exam at your convenience.

P: It's not up to me to custom grade your exam so that you can get your final grade before the already ridiculously early date it will be posted next week. Faculty would like to get out of here as soon as possible, too, but we've got hundreds of papers and exams to grade first, and we don't do it on the basis of 'he/she who hassles the most gets theirs first'. Everyone wants to 'go home' and get ready for Christmas / Hanukkah / Solstice / whatever mid-winter ritual or holiday we celebrate, but we've got to get through this stuff first. Wait your turn; it will come soon enough. And it isn't bright to hassle faculty with red pens hovering over stacks of papers / exams; it just makes us crabby. And you never want your faculty to be crabby when they're grading.