Monday, May 2, 2016

Pissy Primrose Gets What She Wants.

What special preparation do 19 year old students get that allows them to think some aggressive and antagonistic emails to their professor would be a good plan - the weekend before the final.

I ask my students to turn in their last presentation in a certain format. I have 200 sophomores, roughly, and when their work comes in in a certain way my job is easier. I've been doing this particular assignment with these criteria for about 10 years.

Because I don't have the pricier PDF software at home that would allow me to get into a student's PDF and fix it for a couple of TAs who do some of the grading, I asked Pissy Primrose to please resubmit some portion of the assignment. It wasn't time sensitive. In fact I said, "No rush; just before the exam if possible."

While I was with friends this afternoon THREE emails have come in from here, each one a bit more pissy, each one a bit more infuriating.

"I did the format they way you told me."

"If you wanted it formatted differently you should have told me. Now I have to take time out of my exam preparations."

"I don't have time to do this. I have several exams in my major and they are obviously my priority. I believe I formatted your assignment the correct way and you should grade it as is."

I wrote back, "Sounds good to me."

- Eating Low Salt

10 comments:

  1. I had a student turn in a final essay 2 days late who typed "because I had personal issues I expect to receive no penalty."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ruby from RichmondMay 2, 2016 at 1:15 PM

      Reply: "Your expectation is interesting yet irrelevant."

      Delete
  2. And then there are the students who want to drop the course AFTER the final exam. I tell them we call it a FINAL exam for a reason. The concept of a deadline is utterly lost on some of them and that is probably partly due to other professors who just let them do whatever they want whenever they want.

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    Replies
    1. Writing just for myself now, Fred's experience is mine, too. My students, the ones that make trouble at least, NEVER face consequences. I know from talking to faculty sometime. "Oh, I couldn't penalize the poor dear. She was crying so hard." "I let him off this time. He seems like a good kid."

      And then when reckoning comes, it's always with me, and it's always the first time!

      Crystal

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  3. I so hope you're able to take major points off the student's grade on this assignment for failure to submit it in the appropriate format. And if you get any complaints from the student about his/her grade, say you'd be happy to discuss it, but only in person in your office at 8:00 am the next day. And if the student doesn't show up by 8:01 am, you should feel free to leave and go home.

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  4. Final papers were due in two of my sections by 11:59 last night. This morning, I've got one request in my inbox to turn in a completely different paper (written for another class, but that's actually allowed, unusually, in my class, on the theory that it's useful for the student to get feedback from both a professor in the major and their writing teacher. However, all of that has to be arranged and agreed upon well in advance, and the paper has to meet all the requirement for both classes, which the proffered paper does not). I've also got one paper in the dropbox that bears no resemblance to the (pretty good) draft I saw in conference.

    The good news: the student asking to turn in the alternative paper backed down when I pointed out the complications that would have to be overcome (which added up to it being easier to finish/revise the original draft), and I'm pretty sure that the latter paper is simply an uploading mistake (well, that or a ploy to gain a few more hours of revision time, but I'm trying to take the optimistic view. Hey, classes are over, I actually have a reasonable amount of time to finish the grading -- as opposed to the ridiculously-compressed schedule brought on by the placement of Labor Day and Christmas last fall -- and the sun may even be peeking out after days of rain. I'm sure my mood will fall again as I wade further into the grading, but for the moment I'm going to enjoy a moment of cheerfulness while I can).

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  5. I fear that I may be one of the profs that never gets the poor dears to face consequences. Or rather, I spell out the (moderate) consequences, and I do impose them, but they are moderate. If you don't have a doctor's or counsellor's note about a medical or personal emergency that delayed your assignment, I take off 1% per day. That's all. However, I DO take off 1% per day. If students hand things in a couple of days late, calculating that they can make up more than the 2% they'll lose by doing a better job with the extra time, it's fine by me. If however your assignment is 3 weeks late, you will lose 21%. I figure this counts as "time and consequence planning".

    More of my students seem to have anxiety and depression problems than used to. Or perhaps they just tell me more often than they used to. I always count this as a medical reason for delay, but I also get them to give me a revised deadline for the assignment; because I don't think it does anyone any good to just think it can be handed in whenever because "I was depressed/anxious/had a broken leg". That's just a recipe for never handing it in and not finishing the course.

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    Replies
    1. Making them set their own revised deadline (within reason, of course) strikes me as a very good idea (and I do the same). Of course it can be difficult for someone who has depression or anxiety to do so (the broken leg would presumably present less of an obstacle), but it's an important part of taking ownership of, and beginning to assert control over, the situation (and perhaps for that reason, I probably shouldn't be surprised at how many students are reluctant to come up with a schedule and a date, even when given some time to think about it. Our counseling services folk are pretty good at walking them through the process, but they tend to be a bit overoptimistic in my experience; someone who has not completed work all semester is not going to catch up with a whole class's work, let alone several classes' work, in a week. If that were possible, we -- the instructors -- would be doing something wrong).

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    2. I might argue that for someone who has depression or anxiety, their setting a deadline not only helps them take ownership, it also helps attack one possible root of their affliction. The way out of learned helplessness is to not be helpless, even if you must fake it till you make it. And it's also just a good life skill to learn.

      Delete
  6. I fear that I may be one of the profs that never gets the poor dears to face consequences. Or rather, I spell out the (moderate) consequences, and I do impose them, but they are moderate. If you don't have a doctor's or counsellor's note about a medical or personal emergency that delayed your assignment, I take off 1% per day. That's all. However, I DO take off 1% per day. If students hand things in a couple of days late, calculating that they can make up more than the 2% they'll lose by doing a better job with the extra time, it's fine by me. If however your assignment is 3 weeks late, you will lose 21%. I figure this counts as "time and consequence planning".

    More of my students seem to have anxiety and depression problems than used to. Or perhaps they just tell me more often than they used to. I always count this as a medical reason for delay, but I also get them to give me a revised deadline for the assignment; because I don't think it does anyone any good to just think it can be handed in whenever because "I was depressed/anxious/had a broken leg". That's just a recipe for never handing it in and not finishing the course.

    ReplyDelete