Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Second-time Susie: You’re student teaching now, a thought that fills me with preternatural dread, as I have a child who could someday veer under your aegis of flake. But to clarify for you: no, bringing every single assignment you didn’t turn in during the semester to my office in the last week of class will not have a whit of effect on your final grade. And no, I don’t believe you turned in your April 7th essay, even though you insist blackboard sent you a mysterious message saying you did. No, I don’t care that you were on vacation and “forgot” the schedule. No, I don’t care that your student teaching is taking a lot of your time. I thought you would have picked up on all this the first time you took the class—and failed. You need a 98% on the final to achieve a “C” in the course. Go to it, flake. Go to it.

Internet Ina: Darling, darling…I like you. You sit up front, and show up most of the time. You don’t cause me any problems. You have a quick, shy smile. You are not the sharpest tack in the box, but that’s what I’m here for. Why oh why did you choose the last assignment of the semester to plagiarize? No, you can’t pass. One incident of plagiarism results in your failure for the entire course. At first you insisted, over and over, that you never took anything from the internet to prepare your assignment. No, I didn’t believe you. It was only after I gently and methodically presented you with irrefutable evidence, that you finally caved. And you are sorry, really sorry. But no, that won’t help. You still fail, Ina. You still fail. Sigh.

Pregnant Patty: I know you are pregnant. I’ve been pregnant myself. But no, I cannot absolve you of the required work because you are hauling a fetus around. You have a failing average on your assignments, and because of excessive absences, a failing average on participation as well. You need high marks on the oral report and the final just to get a “C” in the class. No, I don’t believe you had “the flu,” especially since you were taken ill the night before your oral report was due. No, I will not waive the requirement that you produce a doctor’s excuse to prevent your grade being halved for lateness. But I informed you that there is actually some wiggle room so that you could have presented your report this week instead, along with the excuse. Your response to that suggestion was dead air. And you didn’t show up today, either. You’re doomed, Pregnant Patty. You’re doomed.

Late Lottie: You showed up late eleven times this semester out of thirty class periods. When I asked you about your lateness earlier in the semester, in order to prod you to come to class on time, you just shrugged and said you just couldn’t seem to show up on time anywhere. I shrugged back. Whatevs. Then this week, which is the last week of school, you got around to asking how many lates and absences you had, and what the effect would be on your final grade. You know, Lottie, I was not kidding when I said that after two you’d be penalized one point off your final grade for each additional tardy. That adds up to nine points off your final grade. Plus you’re one absence over the limit as well and that amounts to another two points off. Eleven points off for you, Lottie. What? No more shrugging? Now you want to meet with me outside of my office hours to arrange for a special extra credit assignment you intend to complete between now and Friday? Uh, no, Late Lottie. You’re a bit late for that as well.

Perfect Portia: No, perfect attendance will not magically get you a higher grade. No, it won’t even bump you up if you are “between” grades. There is no such thing as “between” grades, and just showing up doesn’t get you brownie points. If you haven’t learned that yet, maybe the “C” you don’t think you deserve will help you figure that out. And no, you can’t have an extra credit assignment either.


  1. On days when attendance is particularly poor, the ones who show up invariably ask me - at least once a semester - for "extra credit for showing up."

  2. I've just gotten into "no" mode myself. It's amazing how many students ask for extra credit in the last few weeks of the semester. If the bastards didn't do the work in the first place why should I go out of my way to give them extra credit. Bah.

  3. God, Stella, I needed this smackdown today. Really needed it. (sigh of relief)


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