Friday, December 21, 2012
Last Day (warning: contains profanity)
I had one student, Indignant Irene, who had an outright confrontation with me yesterday. We had a final group project, where I graded each member individually. I can tell who did what work rather easily, and each person is graded on the merit of his/her contribution.
The confrontation began when Indignant Irene earned an A- on the project. She had been working very, very hard all quarter, but there were still some fundamental gaps in her knowledge base. Her presentation showed a lot of improvement, but it was not perfect. It was B+/A- work, and having seen how hard she worked in class, and her working with me during office hours, I decided to push it to the A-. She felt she should have earned 100% on the assignment. She did this in front of the class. I pointed out her errors, also in front of the class, since Indignant Irene refused to wait until my office hours. Fine. I'll tell everyone what was wrong with your presentation, since you insist on hijacking my class.
Then, after all the presentations, I quickly calculated my students' current grades, so they would know where they stood, and what they needed to score on the final exam. Indignant Irene was outraged that her current grade was a B, and that there was no mathematical way she could earn an A in the course.
"But Professor Maybelle, I've worked so hard!"
I don't remember what I said, but her tone and attitude started taking over the class. This class has not been doing very well. One quiz, the entire class started laughing about "how hard it was" and how they "all were going to fail it." It was a complete joke to them. My quizzes are pulled word for word from their homework, and this is the homework that was graded in class the day before.
"I use a scale of weighted grades. You did well in the homework section, but the exam and quiz scores are pulling your grade down."
What I was screaming inside my head, "You can't fucking fail every goddam quiz and expect to pass. You thought it was so funny when you found the quiz after Thanksgiving sooooo hard. If you fail every fucking quiz, you won't earn an A in the class. It doesn't matter if you do every single, solitary homework assignment. Homework counts for 10%. I consider it idiot points. Free points. Good job. You got all the points for 10% of the grade. Maybe you should have given a fuck about the quizzes and the exams,which are 65% of the grade."
There was still time for students to fill out the course evaluations. I'm pretty sure Indignant Irene took her indignation to my evaluation. At least I already knew that my contract wasn't being renewed .... the evaluation means nothing for me at this institution. Perhaps it will help/hurt at another institution, but I don't care at this point. I've already got a gap in the C.V., and I can't seem to find another position.
After grading the abysmal final exams, I found myself in the adjunct office. It's too cold and too small. With only one common desk for every single adjunct in our department, I never brought anything personal into the space. I returned my teaching materials and the office key. I was never given a building key, which meant on several occasions this term, I stood outside shivering in the cold while waiting for the office workers to arrive and let me in so that I could make copies before my class.
Adjuncting is abusive hell. I'm not willingly going back.
Sadly, I got three rejection letters yesterday. Thank you Search Committeees! It's a very Merry Christmas with this news. Can you just wrap up the rejections with a bow and say "YOU SUCK"?