Saturday, February 9, 2013
Open Notebook Olivia
On the day of the first reading quiz, I handed out the questions I wanted them to answer, and reminded them that this was a way to encourage that note taking that I was hoping they were doing. "Remember," I said. "This is closed book but open notebook. Close your books. You can use your notes." Also, on the top of the quiz, I typed in bold "Closed Book, Open Notebook Reading Exercise."
Timid Timmy raised his hand. "Can we use our notebooks?" he asked. "Yes, Timid Timmy, you can. I hope you took notes!" "I did!" he smiled proudly.
There were a few questions on the right side of the room about the content of the quiz. When I turned my head several minutes later, I saw Olivia with her book open (her notebook was closed), writing down answers on her paper while looking at the book.
I walked over to her. "Olivia----I have to take your exercise. This is a closed book, open notebook quiz." Other students looked up. Olivia assumed an expression of astonishment. "What? You said we could use our books!"
"No, Olivia. I didn't." I was not ruffled. This has happened before. I walked back to the front of the room. The other students looked back down to work on their exercises.
"So, what does this mean? I get a zero? That is not fair. You were not clear enough! I did not know!"
"Yes, you get a zero. Yes, I was very clear, both verbally and in writing. But there are a number of grades in this category, and it is only worth 5% of your grade. As there will be at least five quizzes, this is only worth 1 point off your final. I assume you won't let it happen again."
"I am an A student. I do not get zeros!" Olivia was incensed.
"You just did." I said. "Let's be silent in respect for your fellow students now."
Olivia came after class to argue her point. "I am fresh out of high school, and in high school, open notebook means open book!"
I wondered what high school she was talking about. But I was done with her. I told her I understood that she was upset, but that she should look at it as a learning experience. Always listen to the directions you are given. Always read them. Don't assume things. She said she did not need that kind of patronizing attitude. I told her I had nothing more to say to her about this.
The next class, she came in proudly with a drop form. "I will not be treated like my feelings don't matter!" She proclaimed.
I was thrilled. Olivia's fellow students watched her go with amusement. I feel a little sad for her. What is going to happen to such a dumbass out in the world?