Rachel the Red from Riverside here, wearing my mortarboard backwards, yo.
Today's the drop day for our seven-week summer session. Snowflake of the Month informed me during the first week of classes that she would miss the second week (and use up all her absences) in order to join her family in singing "Gaudeamus Igitur" and throwing rose petals at her brother's graduation. She said they'd been planning this all year. She said she knew she was responsible for getting the assignments from a classmate and that she would turn in her paper on time. What's not to love, right?
I just reviewed my grade on [TechJunk CMS] and read your comments and I don't believe that I deserved the grade that was received. Reason being is because I made sure that I incorporated all the claims in my paper as well as TRACE. I don't understand what I did wrong or if I totally just missed the whole concept of the whole thing. You stated that you didn't see where I incorporated the claims and trace in my paper, but each paragraph had to do with one claim each and then I incorporated it all together as well as giving an analysis of the ___ paper based on her views and my views on [essay title]. Please let me know if there is anything that can be done or if there is even a chance of me passing this class after this grade.
I framed a diplomatic CYA answer, such as I myself have received when overreaching doctoral-level classes outside of my discipline, to wit:
I've reviewed your paper and here's why it earned an F. First, it is a personal essay, not an analysis. Second, it does not, in fact, analyze either the five claim types or TRACE in any systematic way. Third, it contains many serious sentence-level errors. I think that it's important for you to consider whether you can master both 1101- and 1102-level skills in the next four or five weeks. You may be more comfortable taking 1102 when summer travel plans don't interfere with 1/7 of the class meetings and when you don't have to cram everything into seven short weeks.
I spent my research day grading papers, since another flake who'd requested an appointment on my day off decided to send a "hey, can't make it, sorry" e-mail during my unbelievably circuitous and obstacle-filled two-hour route. After a hellacious 12-hour day (which was eaten up with all kinds of ancillary crap having nothing to do with, say, studying for comps), I dragged home, warmed up some humble leftovers, then checked my e-mail. There, I found this late-night response:
Is there a possibility that I could still pass the class with that F?
Well, business hours on the drop date have passed, and none of the current crop has dropped, not even the three for whom I did everything but set off Roman candles spelling out the letter F.
I suppose that anything is possible. My academic specialty is not decision science. I'm no bookie. However, if this were a horse at the racetrack, I'd spend my $3 on a warm draft beer instead.