Sunday, October 21, 2007

Random Bullets of Baseball and Grading

  • Go Sox! I mean, Go Tribe! Go Sox! I mean... Oh fuck. I just can't wait until this is over so that I can, without ambivalence, support the AL team over the stupid Colorado Rockies.
  • You know what sucks? When a student has some of the most beautiful academic writing you've ever seen and yet writes a paper that is totally grounded in unsupported assumptions about "true love."
  • You know what sucks even more than that? When you've got a student who's totally engaged and smart in class, and did well on the test, and whose paper is a steaming pile of BS. Never before have I called a student out on BSing in my comments, but this one - oh, lord, I could not look the other way. I'm wondering if this is a writing problem with the student or if it's only a laziness problem. I'm requiring that the student meet with me to discuss the paper, and I'm requiring the student to revise the paper, so we shall see.
  • But you know what's great? When you know that the last paper in the stack alphabetically is going to be the best one in the bunch (I already skimmed through them before sitting down to grade). Now, I'd have known it was going to be among the best even without having done that, as this is my third go-around with this student, and he is brill-fucking-iant. For the first time, I'm actually sad that a student of mine is graduating. Like totally sad. For myself. How lame is that? I'm also totally psyched that this is the same student who made a point of telling me last semester that he'd decided against grad school (although he'd rock at it, actually) because "I'd rather write books like this than write about them." Ah, my work here is done.
  • But you know what totally sucks? A student who thinks that he/she earned the grade that he/she earned because I disagreed with his/her interpretation of a text. Don't they know that I ultimately don't care whether they agree with me but rather that they just do the assignment and support their ideas? According to an email that I just looked at (for it's the first I've checked this weekend, because I took a weekend off the email for sanity) apparently they do not know this. Indeed, they perceive "critique" and "I'm giving you the chance to revise" as "personal and biased vendetta." In this way, students are not unlike college professors who perceive all acts of administrators in much the same way. Hmmmm..... Perhaps this student is destined for a career in academe? Though I think not.
  • But so yeah. It's been a night of watching the Indians implode and, well, watching my students, in one class, with the exception of the BSer, in the form of their writing, tread water, and in the form of email, just totally lose their shit. Ah, it's a Sunday in October. (Though, truly, the Indians usually implode in like... June. So I should be happy, right?)


The_Myth said...

Just remember...this is the entitlement generation...they have no experience at receiving criticism.

Last Spring nearly all my students accused me of grading them on their opinions. It was a class on argumentation...and by the end of the semester far too many of them still did not understand that a CLAIM requires EVIDENCE to SUPPORT it. They didn't understand that when I wrote "faulty logic" next to one of their assertions, it wasn't just "my opinion."

They just think what they say/write is Gospel...and their articulation of why it's important is infallible...even though most of them don't articulate all that well.

A brief anecdote: one, I mean, one engaging student never understood my feedback; he felt I didn't "treat students as equals" or "give constructive criticism." Yet, I met with him after nearly every paper to discuss in detail why he earned that grade. In short, he had no clue how to support an argument.

On one paper, he actually attempted to throw in my face that he went to a friend and the Writing Center and asked them to read it too. I asked him to tell me what they told him. Surprise, surprise...they told him virtually EXACTLY what I had written in my comments to him on the last page. He couldn't accept it! I told him, "Dude, I said it, your friend said it, the WC tutor said it. Why can't you accept that it's true and that I kinda know what I'm doing?" [Ok, I spoke much more professionally than that, but you get the point...].

New Kid on the Hallway said...

This world series leaves me completely in a bind! (That is, it would if I actually watched baseball ;-D)

I know what you mean about the students, though thankfully, they do still think history is about facts, so I don't get so many complaints that they do badly because they don't agree with me. I can always drum up some facts to prove them wrong. ;-) I co-taught with someone in English, once, and got to witness the "that's what the poem means to ME" phenomenon first-hand. Which, you know, is nice and all, but does it matter if the poem means that to YOU when such concepts were utterly foreign to medieval people?? Apparently students say yes.

Can we get to the "fall back" part of October soon please? I want another hour!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

It is always the ones who really don't get it that accuse you of grading on bias. In Ethics I get that on occasion... which is just proof that they didn't actually get the assignment.

Dr. Curmudgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Wow - so I just posted a comment to a completely different blog post here. I'm obviously spacing.

My most recent student problem centered on why I wouldn't give them special treatment for a bad exam score because they'd come to office hours. The student actually said, "An ethical policy has nothing to do with it. Those other students aren't here, so why does it matter whether you do something different for me?"

Second Line said...

Go Sox.