[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?"
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.