Posts Tagged ‘talk back’

In honor of the NYT article on college students and their growing sense of entitlement that everyone has been talking about, posting on Facebook about and otherwise pointing to to confirm what we already know from the trenches of the classroom and the torture of the office hour, I am posting a little list I wrote up a while back of the “excuses” and “arguments” that my students regularly give to me and my responses to them (although sometimes my actual responses are more diplomatic). Feel free to add your own or to comment on these:

S: I deserve an A (or B) …..
T: No you earn your grade, what you deserve has nothing to do with it.

S: I need an A in this class because…
T: I don’t care. Sound harsh? Well let’s turn it around: I need you to give me a good teaching evaluation because I need to get tenure, get a raise, win a teaching prize. Do you care? Will my needs influence your evaluation of my performance? No of course not, nor should they. If you need a good grade then you will work to earn a good grade (see above). Period. End of story.

S: If my ideas are good you shouldn’t knock off points for bad writing/organization/whatever…
T: Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. If I can’t understand what you are trying to say, then I can’t evaluate the quality of your ideas. Good writing and organization are crucial skills for college and for life. There is plenty of help available on campus to improve your writing skills – just ask.

S: I did all the parts of the assignment so I should get at least a B!
T: No, your grade is based on how well you did the assignment, not doing it in the first place. If you complete all parts of the assignment with basic competence, you will earn a C – Bs and As come from above average and excellent work.

S: I’m too busy, I had too much to do for my other classes/my job/whatever to work on this assignment/study for the test!
T: You are an adult. That means that you set your own schedule and determine your own priorities. It is fine with me if this class is not your top priority right now or if you regularly juggle an extremely demanding schedule. But remember, everyone is busy. I would guess that I am as busy as you if not busier. If something else has to come before the required work for this class, that is your decision. But decisions have consequences and the consequence in this case is a lower grade on the assignment/exam.

S: I didn’t know it was plagiarism!
T: My first response, is Really? I find that hard to believe. However, even if you didn’t know that copying and pasting directly from websites is wrong, is your responsibility to know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it, and if you don’t know or are not sure, you need to ask.


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