Let's say, for simplicity's sake, that my class is the History of Science. Most students do not want to take History of Science because they would rather just blow things up in the lab. They haven't yet realized that a Scientist must be well-rounded and know more than just how to blow things up in a lab. (My apologies to real scientists for the metaphor, but any more specific info would give me away) I just returned the students' first paper, where they were required to write a research paper about a specific scientist. I gave them some secondary sources but wanted them to look at the scientist themselves. (Primary sources and all)
I got an email from Flakely P. Flakington within 30 minutes of returning the paper. Apparently, I never "told them they had to talk about science in their paper." I grade too hard. I grade harder than last semester's professor. My expectations weren't clear. Flakely worked way to [sic] hard on this paper for it to effect [sic] her grade so much. Why didn't I require a draft? Last semester's professor required a draft so they could make sure they "understood what she wanted."
Let me get this straight. I required a thesis paragraph, two secondary source summaries, and a footnote formatting exercise, about half of which this student completed satisfactorily. I offered written feedback. I offered every week for students to come meet with me. I stated several times how important it was for them to look at the scientist and not just read the secondary sources about the scientist. But because this student didn't get the grade she wanted, it's my fault for not making my expectations clear. I should just give her an A and tell her to get the fuck out of my face, since she obviously doesn't give a shit about learning anything. If only I had tenure.
I'm sick to damn death of these brats telling me I'm so much meaner and harder than last semester's professor. I'm tired of them not being able to think critically. I'm tired of them being rude to me and refusing to take responsibility for their learning. Most of all, I'm so tired of them making me doubt myself, making me wonder if I am being too much of a hard-ass by asking them to talk about science in a science history paper.