Friday, January 30, 2009

The Anti-Rant

Yours truly teaches at a major university located in secure bunker somewhere within the United States. As such, I deal with many, many students on a daily basis. Rarely do they make their way to my office, and when it does happen, most often it's to ask for some extra-credit; or to ask what will be on the next exam so they don't have to study everything, just what's important; or to ask for a make up exam, because they missed the regular exam when their guinea pig swallowed a gold fish and had to have emergency surgery to remove the intestinal blockage (and no note from the vet, of course, not even a bill....)

So it was with some trepidation that I read an e-mail from a student who took my course last semester, wanting to meet with me to talk about his final grade. My mind raced through the possibilities: a semester long case of sleep deprivation, a new computer virus that changed all the answers given in the on-line homework assignments, a dearly beloved pet snail who contracted a case of that flesh eating bacteria. Whatever it would be, it was sure to not be the student's fault that they got a low grade, and was there anything they could do six weeks after the end of the semester to improve their grade?

Imagine my surprise when the student arrived at my office and requested a breakdown of the grades earned for different parts of the course. Imagine my surprise when the student freely admitted that they hadn't spent as much time as they should have on homework, and had not come to class as often as they should have! And imagine my surprise, when after taking responsibility for his own actions, he didn't beg for a way to change his grade!

Wow, a new president in office, and already things are looking better.


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