Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dr. Crazy Now Starring as Cruella DeVille

I just made a little freshman cry. He was pretty good about keeping his composure, but still. I think I cheered him up by the end of the conference, but still. This is the reason to spend the time writing long end comments instead of meeting with students to give them their grades. It's so fucking awful.

[Edited to add: Oh, and I just got a freaked out email from a student in my lower-div lit course. Apparently, she's never received a grade lower than a C on a paper before. Maybe I am Cruella DeVille after all? Have offered to meet with student even though she called me "Ms." and other irritating things that I probably shouldn't post on a blog.]

11 comments:

Steph * said...
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Steph * said...

Think of it as an important life skill that you're helping your student develop.

In one of my undergrad "professional skills" courses we would have to present weekly projects to the class. Our professor would then, in front of everyone, tear it to shreds with comments like "what were you thinking?" and "did you even look at the assignment?"

He would then follow the mean comments with constructive criticism as well as acknowledgement of what was done correctly.

I had tears in my eyes after the first class. By the last class, I was hard as nails and eternally grateful for it. I mean, crying in front of my professor and class was bad enough, but at least they don't control my job (and therefore livelihood) like a boss or manager would.

So don't feel bad! Down the line he'll appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

That students need a kick in the derriere (in liew of motivation)there's no doubt. Yet, cruel and unusual punishments are verboten in the classroom. I use the "Master Class" technique that musicians use. First the apple sauce then the aspirin followed by a knuckle or batton-rap on the head.

Anastasia said...

just remember, it's a freshman, not a puppy.

Anonymous said...

Anastasia: freshman are like puppies: they waggle and fawn around you and never cross the line. Leave that to the grads...who make more passes than a toreador.

negativecapability said...

I'm meeting with my students to give papers back this semester, but I doubt I'll have anything under a B (only 14 students, all of them engaged and some of them very good writers already). Although I have the kind of students that might cry over a B+.

I think every freshman has one of those moments. It's good when it's with someone who tries to cheer you up afterwards instead of cackling in satisfaction over shattering yet another dream of glory...:)

Dr. Crazy said...

I just felt so horrible because he was SO devastated by it and obviously had been really proud of the paper and expecting to do well. The truth is (and I told him this) that there IS a lot to be proud of in the paper and a solid foundation on which to build in the revision. (They are allowed to revise for a brand new grade in my writing classes, so I'm always caught off guard when they are so upset over the first grade I give them.... But I think also they build up that first grade because I don't like to emphasize grades until this point in the semster.... Ah, who knows. Anyway, though, he's really sweet and earnest and I hope he does a kick-ass revision.)

D.B. said...

geez ms. crazy what could u possibly have against freshmen?? i don't think it's fair professors punish us with mediocre grades when we write mediocre stuff and ill tell you all about it in an email that performs confession and soul baring and vulnerability simply by neglecting capitalization and most punctuation!!

MommyProf said...

I am trying to learn to not take things personally. If they fall asleep in class, it's not because I am boring. They are just tired. If they start crying, it's not because I am super mean, but because they are frustrated. It doesn't always work, but I try.

Anonymous said...

mommyprof: If a student buries her head in her arms I ask her to step out. I point to the sign on the wall: NO SMOKING...and I say,"AND NO SLEEPING!" Don't give me your tired, etc. I had a foreign student who returned to her country in protest. So be it.

STM said...

Your story reminds me of the time I made a guy cry in my office. He wasn't in my class...but he was so despondent over the grade I gave his girlfriend he couldn't help himself. He left tears and mucus on my shirt as well...