Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Prissy Prof's First Last Class of the Semester

Before I begin, I want to explain that I looked forward to teaching this class even though I had to take it over from a departing colleague. But the class soon let me know that I would regret offering to take on the class and that regret would following me after the course ended. The class whined and cried about the workload most of the semester. I had the nerve to expect them to read, think, and write for a night class! Egads!!! You would have thought I was asking them to peel off their own flesh one layer at a time.

At the middle of the semester, I decided changes were required if I were to be able to continue the course without going all Jeremy on them. I eliminated writing papers and added quizzes based on the required readings. I showed documentaries and quizzed on them the following week. I even gave them points for each student who submitted a possible multiple choice quiz question, answers, and fillers. 15% of the course was a writing journal on reactions from reading each chapter of the assigned memoir. I grade based on a point system, and there were more points possible than there were supposed to be. I just treated those as free points and let the students' grades benefit. How lucky they are! Then the emails started.

Grade Grubbing Greg was first:

Prissy Prof: I looked at my grades on black board and i have a 79.3, .2 from what would be rounded up to a B-. i remember you saying that you took participation into consideration and would if someone was on the borderline of a letter grade and i was wondering if i fell into that catagory. . . .

Grade Grubbing Greg

Fantasy Response: Greg: You fell into the category of students who couldn't be forced to give a shit about your grade until the final grade was posted. A perusal through the grade book shows incomplete assignments. Doing part of any 1 of those assignments would have taken you to 80 and you would have *earned* a higher grade.

Next was his fraternity brother:

i know that our final grades are on blackboard. i have a 78%. can i possibly write something of any kind to make up the points to get an even 80% so i can keep my scholarship to go here.

Grade Grubbing Grayson

Fantasy Response: Grayson: Holy shit! You are on a scholarship!?!?!? WTF? How can that be? I haven't known you to score an A on anything that you've ever taken with me! A quick perusal of the grade book shows that you did all of the assignments, but you're just not that bright. A C+ seems like a good grade under the circumstances.

Next up was Grade Grubbing Grant who was waiting outside my office for my arrival. Poor dear was confused about math, specifically, the lack of need to do it to determine the final grade. All was right with the world when he saw what his grade was as opposed to what he thought it was.

Finally, Grade Grubbing Griffin who is a member of the same over-achieving fraternity as Greg and Grayson:
I just got onto blackboard to check my grade and I was surprised to find my final grade was a 78.5%. If I don't deserve it then that's fine but I feel like I learned way more than a C average, and never missed a day of class. I wouldn't normally do this but the grade is so close to a B- and I try to keep C's off my transcript. Please take this into consideration.
Thanks and have a Merry Christmas,

Fantasy Response: Griffin: Than you for using some capital letters along with a salutation and closing. You could teach your brothers a bit about writing emails. As for your grade, giving that you and your fraternity brothers made my life hell all semester, you deserve to get an F. If you learned anything in this class, you did a very good job of hiding it because your scores sucked. Next time you want to keep Cs off your transcript, you should heed the professor's advise when she recommends ways to improve your grade *during the semester*!
Happy holidays to you too :)

The actual mass email I sent to the class:
Below is the grading scale. Compare your total points to this scale to determine your final grade. (This was added for the benefit of people like Grant.)As stated on the syllabus, the number of points you earned determines the grade you receive.

When I revised the course (because you dumb fucks couldn't figure out how to read, synthesize information, and apply what you learned in a typed document) I agreed to let the journal be worth 150 points (originally the assignment covered only the first 10 chapters and was worth 100 points). That means that you were able to earn 150 points -- 15% of the grade -- just for reading a book and writing your reactions. I also agreed to award up to up to 25 points for submitting a question that could appear on a review quiz. By having the number of quizzes that we had, 37 free points were built into the class (you were scored out of 1000, but 1037 total points were available). You have been able to monitor your grade the entire semester, so your total points and grade should not have come as a huge surprise to you.

For all of these reasons, I am not changing anyone's grade. I am not rounding up. I am not creating extra assignments. I am not bumping grades up for any reason. If you find this decision to be unfair, please be advised that you may appeal your grade to (contact information provided here).

Only 3 more sets of grades to submit and exchanges like these to look forward to. Yippee!


  1. Grade-Grubbing Griffin, who said "I try to keep C's off my transcript," was actually being very honest. He didn't say he always tried to work hard enough for a B, he just has his ways of keeping C's off: trying to intimidate female professors, perhaps?

  2. I include the following on the message that I send out to announce that final grades are posted.

    "The only reason a grade will be changed at this point is due to clerical or calculation error. Any request for a grade change not based on these two reasons will be politely ignored."

    I have very rarely gotten grade appeals since I began using this wording.


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