Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Didn't You Know? Proffies Are Supposed To Have Infinite Memory!

"I don't like the grade you gave me on my paper!"

"What was it?"


"Well, that's not such a terrible grade. When I was in school, 'C' was an average grade. That's what most students got."

"But I know I didn't write an average paper."

"I'm not saying you did. But did you read my comments."

"Yeah, and I did what you told me. And I still got a B+"

"Do you have the paper with you?"


"Well, I need to see it in order to tell you more."

"But, tell me, what do I have to do to make it an 'A'."

"You have to show it to me first."

"How can you not remember?"

"I'm sorry. I only read 152 papers this week. I guess my memory must be going. I'm no spring chicken, you know."

"Just tell me what I need to do to get an 'A.'"


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  2. I have to reach that level of efficiency. At my present level of comments on papers, I could not read 152 papers in a week and still eat and sleep. I guess it depends on the paper. Little two-page position papers or something, perhaps.
    In the brick-and-mortar world at least you have a good chance of recalling which class the student is in. I get e-mails that ask, "When is the assignment due?" and first have to determine which university they're at, then which class - and sometimes the section is relevant, too. Then I know which assignment.

    1. How about delegating? Those discovery tasks can and probably should be bounced straight back to the student with a cut and paste stock email response.

      If you run rigidly to a syllabus in all courses, the stock response could even just be "This information is listed on the syllabus."

  3. Wait, do you allow rewrites? How else is s/he going to "make it an 'A'"?

    Unless s/he is expecting a universal answer for all future papers. Preferably something along the lines of "use the word 'therefore' once per paragraph."

  4. "Write a better paper."

    "Drop this class and retake it with one of my pushover colleagues. They serve cookies in class too."

    "Retake this class in a few years. By then, my standards will have declined to the point that your current paper will earn an A."

  5. "You're in college to learn, and you're already learning valuable stuff. Stuff you won't get graded on.
    1. Your parents got it wrong, or deliberately lied to you. The universe doesn't revolve around you or your feelings.

    2. Life is not fair. Not everything you say or do is a gem to be cherished and preserved.

    3. Approval from people in authority requires effort, sometimes lots of it. If you think your proffie is tough, wait until you get a boss.

  6. "I need to know how you write before I can tell you how to improve. Once again, where is your paper."


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