Saturday, May 5, 2007

.....but why??

[PSA: The following represents an only slightly edited email exchange between me and one of my students.]

Cheeky Student: "Prof. Medieval Woman, I just received the mark you gave me for our course and I'm absolutely shocked. It was substantially lower than I had expected. Can you explain this?"

Prof. MW: "Yes, Student, I can explain this. You failed the final exam and made a C- on your final paper."

CS: "But I don't understand. What were the points you gave me for each section of the final?"

PMW: "I don't know - the exams are now happily ensconced in the English Dept. office. You are welcome to stop by and pick up your exam any weekday before 4pm."

CS: "But I'm in [city across the country] already. Can you go check?"

PMW: "No."

CS: "I can't believe how unfair and uncooperative you're being. I studied SO hard for your final and wrote my best essay and you still gave me a really low grade."

PMW: "I'm sorry that you're discouraged by the grade you earned in my class - and, Student, please note my rhetoric in this sentence: I do not *give* grades; students *earn* grades. I'm afraid that the work represented in your final exam and final paper did not merit a higher mark."

CS: "I want you to re-grade my final paper - I can email you a copy. I think this is only fair."

PMW: "It is my policy to grade papers only once in my courses - they are usually not any better a second time. Indeed, it would be very unfair to your classmates if I were to give you another bite at the apple. If you were able to bring in the paper that I graded, we could set up an appointment to discuss my comments if any of them are unclear. But, barring that, I will not re-evaluate your grade."

CS: "This is so unfair. What good does it do you to ruin my dreams of graduating with honors? Why are you trying to ruin my life?"

PMW: "I'm glad that you set such a high value on this class. However, our discussion about this issue is over. You may continue this discussion with the Chair of the department if you like."

CS: "You'll be seeing me again next year - I'm going to keep taking this course as many times as I need to to get a passing grade."

PMW: "Alas, you will be unable to take another course from me. I have taken a position elsewhere. As far as I know, the department has no plans to offer this course again. I wish you the best of luck in your future studies, and I hope you get eaten by a walrus."**

CS: "This is SO unfair."

**Part of this particular response might be a bit exaggerated.


squadratomagico said...


Highly amusing!

heu mihi said...

Ugh agh! Oh, I do so look forward to having students of my own, again!

heu mihi said...

Well-played, though.

Heo said...

Ha! Good for you.

Alison said...

Why is it that there's always one or two whiners after the class has ended that ruin that post-'class'al glow.

PS--Sadly, I'm not going to K'zoo. Damn it!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

"Can you go check?" - amazing!

Steve Muhlberger said...

It's been a while since anyone tried this on me. They reserve this semi-bullying for profs who are younger, shorter, and more female.