Posts Tagged ‘Teaching’


I’m really enjoying my class so far this term – all of the students are really into the topic and since there are only about 20 of them, I am managing to stay on top of the grading without too much difficulty. 

But on Thursday 6 of them didn’t show up and one snuck out during the break. Three of them wrote me later to apologize and explain (when they sent along their paper topics, but still…) but I was annoyed. I know the weather is getting nice but a lot of their grades are based on participation. Plus it was some of my more talkative students who were absent so the discussion dragged a little bit.

So it is OK. This time.

Grrrr… .But they’d better not make a habit of it..


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Tuesday, nap time. Buddy is still in his jammies after a busy morning playing with nana at our house. He’s sacked out on “the big bed” – the place he dreams of sleeping all the time. He is, however, always denied this dream at bedtime – poor kid!

I did get almost everything done for my class but yesterday morning I came home after dropping Buddy off at daycare and went back to bed for a couple of hours. Such is the price for staying up until 12:30 am writing a lecture for class (not to mention grading – oh the humanity). Staying up so late really doesn’t work if you have to get up between 3-4:30 and convince your toddler to go back to sleep until 5:30 or so. 

Tuesday is no day care so this morning was a lost cause work-wise. Buddy and I did some painting and then spent some time playing hide-and-seek in the “big bed” amongst all the pillows. 

Tomorrow however, I will do my (at least) an hour’s worth of work on the diss first thing in the morning. Which means that tonight I need to finish the discussion handout and preview the films I got from the library. I can’t believe how fast this month is going. I’m feeling that familiar sense of panic in my stomach – it is always there but now it is stronger. I’m coming to realize that I need to finish the diss not only to get a job, but because I want to know what it is like to not have this constant feeling of dread and low-grade panic with me all the freaking time. I’m coming to the conclusion that I will have no peace in my life until it is done.

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I hab a colb

A bad one. The last few days have been pretty much a wash. I can’t believe I have to start teaching again on Monday. More soon.

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Memo to my students on this Friday the 13th: Stop emailing me for your paper grade and COME TO CLASS! That is all.

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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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