Thursday, July 8, 2010

Extra Credit Eddie

Invariably, I get some snowflake at the end of the term—after all of the coursework is finished and final grades are calculated and post to the CMS (meaning, grades have to be submitted within hours)—emailing me, devastated that his grade is some number of points away from whatever grade he wanted and offering to write an additional paper to earn those extra points.

From now, I responding to these requests thusly:
Dear Extra Credit Eddie,

Sure, write a paper. Since this is extra credit, I expect you to show proficiency beyond the demands of the course. Choose one of the topics we covered this semester and look up some of the scholarly literature on it. (You remember all those times we went over using scholarly databases, right? You were just kidding when you used a magazine article as a reference for your other paper, right?) Choose one of the articles you find that we haven’t discussed in class. Read and summarize the article. Then critique it in light of what we’ve discussed about research in this field. Oh, and please get this to me within the next three hours. I’ve got to get grades up.

Haha, sorry, just kidding! Why do you think I want to read yet another damn paper? Especially one that you could write in time for me to grade it before my deadline? There is something you could do to improve your grade, though. Well, something you could have done. Come to class. Come to the exam reviews I give. Do better work on your assignments.

Thanks for showing such sincere interest in the class, though. Too bad it came too late.



  1. Sarcasm is funny, but snowflakes never get it. I've been tempted to say, "I'll grant a special exception just for you, if you can get all 100 other students in the class to sign a petition that states that you deserve special treatment and they don't." I've never said this, though, because children take things so literally (as pointed out in the recent post about putting out fires). What if the snowflake were to start circulating such a petition?

  2. There always seems to be an endless train of these students outside my office door during finals week. “The beggars, bargainers, and grubbers” is how I refer to them in mass and they are all spouting the same nonsense semester after semester. “Dr. Wendy, I really need to get an A because of (inserts lame reason, that I don’t give a rat’s a## about).” And I think to myself where was all this caring and enthusiasm for my class and learning six weeks ago, hell two days ago? So, I simply refer them to the syllabus, which states there is no extra credit given in my course and remind them about the story I told them the first week of class about the end of the semester miracle that happens time and time again, where apathetic student are magically transformed into attentive caring academics seemingly willing to work their butts off for a good grade. I follow this story by offering up some simple words of inspiration and encouragement—treat each week of the semester as if it were your last. But, alas, my sage words fall on deaf ears.

  3. My sixth grade teacher used to say something about extra credit that I've actually used with college students: extra credit is credit for doing something extra. If they couldn't manage to do the work for regular credit, why do they expect me to believe they'll suddenly do something beyond the minimum requirements for the course?

    I actually don't get a lot of requests for extra credit to boost a grade. But I do get requests for extra credit for doing things they were supposed to do anyway: "It's snowing out, and we came to class anyway. We should get extra credit." Or they ask for extra credit because they did the wrong thing on an assignment, unnecessarily making it harder: "My computer broke, so I handwrote the assignment. That takes longer than typing, so I should get extra credit."

  4. Elsa,

    I love those kids too. "It's raining. No one's here. We should get a name quiz."

    What's a name quiz, one may ask? Well, it's something that my colleagues have taught them to expect. Put your name on a piece of paper, and you get points. I had never heard of such nonsense until I started teaching at here. The range and assortment of students who beg for this "quiz" give the impression that this practice is widespread on campus. I cringe and then threaten to TAKE AWAY points from anyone who utters the phrase "name quiz" again.

  5. Only teachers who are absolute pussies offer extra credit. Back in the day, extra credit was for nerds who wanted a 4.1 GPA because a 4.0 wasn't nerdy enough. Now it's become a last-ditch effort to extricate oneself from a failing grade cause by the #1 student fuckup of all time: NOT FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS. When my students fuck up all semester long and then ask plaintively for extra credit, I want to laugh in their fucking faces. I offer NO extra credit, as it says in the syllabus, and as I said in class. They never read the syllabus, of course, even for the syllabus quiz on day 3, and they have no memory and never pay attention to rules, so they're fucked. What they're really asking for is special treatment to get them out of the hole they dug for themselves, and I WON'T DO IT. Many of my students try to "game" the system by doing the absolute least possible work they need to do to pass. When this commonly fails, I take no mercy on them. What a stupid fucking way for them to progress through college, doing the least possible work, because getting an education is just such a fucking burden. Poor babies. I am trying to hard not to hate them.


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