Imaginary conversation

Last night, I posted the midterm marks.  Within half an hour, the first email came.  You need to understand that I also posted a series of comments that basically said things like, “What part of the number 3 don’t you understand?”   I also told them that I meant it when I said, “Study the assignment, show all your work and formulas, and write so that I can read it.” I really tried to be nice. What follows here is totally imaginary; my students would never be like this (nor would I). Enjoy!

STUDENT: Professor Perry, I am really upset about my mark on the midterm.

ME (thoughts): Of course you are. Who are you anyway? Have you ever been in class? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before.
ME (words): I’m sorry to hear that. We could meet to go over the exam if you like. Please remind me of your name again.

STUDENT: …. I can’t come to your office hours. Can I see you some other time.
ME (thoughts): Of course you can’t make office hours. That would be asking too much.
ME (words): What’s a good time you?

STUDENT:….tells me when
ME (thoughts): Figures, that’s the only day I’m not on campus.
ME (words): OK, let’s meet then. What did you get on the test?

STUDENT: Uh, well, like it wasn’t really good, you know. Like about 54.
ME (thoughts): 54!!! I bet that was out of 175, not 100 Now I know which one you are!
ME (words): Well, I guess that means we have some work to do.

STUDENT: Like I was hoping there would be some extra problems I could do, or a quiz or something, or maybe like a makeup exam.
ME (thoughts): Not on your life, chum. Why don’t you try coming to class for a change.
ME (words): No, there’s nothing like that. You still have several components of the course to complete, so you can do yourself some good.

STUDENT: Well you know I didn’t get a good mark on the first assignment or the quiz either. Like maybe you could go over some of the stuff with me.
ME(thoughts): Forget it, kid. You probably want me to reteach the course just for you, and that ain’t gone happen.
ME (words): If you have questions about what we cover in class, I am more than happy to answer them. All I ask is that you show me that you have made some effort to figure it out.

STUDENT: Well, umm, I guess I’d better go. When was that appointment we made?
ME(thoughts): Why am I not surprised that you forgot already.
ME (words): The appointment is for …. See you in class before then, though.

STUDENT: Yah, sure. Where’s your office again?
ME (thoughts): Again, why am I not surprised.
Me (words): It’s on your course outline.
ME (more thoughts): How do you know you can’t come to office hours if you haven’t even checked the course outline for my office number? Why do I bother?

Believe it or not after reading that, I do love teaching and I love the kids who make an honest effort. One wrote a makeup today after missing the test because her father had a near fatal stroke the day before (why do I think I’ve said this before) the original was scheduled. He is still in hospital and will be for some time. She got 82 percent. I do love such kids. And, honestly, those who came to see me today were completely willing to admit their own responsibility for their lousy test performance. I love those kids too and will do anything I can to help them. I also screwed up a couple of grades, forgetting the order of u and y in the alphabet and having to inform a student that she really got 69 percent not 82 percent. Hard. Part of the game, though.

Anyway, enough. Off to call an old friend, taking the advice of another newer friend who says not to put off those calls and visits…

Love you all,

2 thoughts on “Imaginary conversation

  1. Love it!!

    Some many times my answer to students could simply be: “It’s in your syllabus.” Why do you have to ask me when my office hours are and where my office is? Both are in the syllabus, and even when I tell you now, you’re going to forget it and have to look it up or email me later! Or how about, “how much is the assignment worth?”; “when is the assignment due again?”; “do we have class on Wednesday?”; etc – it’s all in your bloody syllabus!

    One of my biggest pet peeves is when a student asks, “What’s on the exam?”. Everything! There is no short cut to studying and doing well – you need to learn and study everything – it’s all fair game.

    “Should I read the text book?”

    Okay, enough ranting for one night! Loved your post. Thanks again for lunch today, I had a really lovely time with you and Doug.


  2. Gail, you make me smile. Oh to be young and mindless again eh? I suspect the student in question has probably never faced any real challenges in their short life, and as such is probably closing in on a come-uppance. If he/she were to study the “statistics” they would realize that!!
    Michael is different because he was faced with challenges early and often, on account of having to overcome his genetics. 🙂


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