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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


Huh. I thought I was fired. Plus other weird things

I just got an email from the people for whom I did some editing work (aka the great non-payment debacle of 2007) asking me to help out with a new grant. I *totally* thought I'd been fired because I complained about not being paid. I was even thinking about this the other day because the last time I was asked to help, I was asked to turn my key in, was only asked to look over the grant once (usually I have to look over every iteration), and there was no contact after that (last contact was in march?). I was lamenting this because the pay was good - and it was the perfect job to have while I was doing the job search (because I could leave at any time - whereas with teaching, you can't leave before the end of the quarter).

The timing is actually pretty good - if they can work around my teaching - as my last paycheck is this week.

Other weird (annoying) things. AKA, honestly - I don't get students at all.

  • A lot of my students are not passing the class at this point. This is because they simply have not been doing the work - not turning in papers. I talked to one student about this and he told me that my late policy encouraged students to not turn in papers because it is only one point off per day (well, it's one point off if you turn it in after class, and then one point per day after that). Sure, one point isn't much - but for a 20 point paper - that's a half a grade. He said that he would just put it off thinking it was just one point - and then a few days later, would realize there was no point turning it in (so not true - from my perspective in determining final grades, it is much better to at least do all the work rather than not - I look far more positively on that).
  • I struggle with late papers a lot. I tried a few times not accepting any late papers whatsoever - which then caused students to not turn them in period - rather than making them turn them in on time.
  • Part of my struggle is my old schoolness - as a student I never ever saw deadlines as negotiable and never turned anything in late. There were no late policies - no points off - things were just expected by the deadlines. As a grad student - I even turned my paper in on time after my dad died.
  • The student above who told me the problem was my late policy is the one who implied I was being racist in my teachings about the development of racism, had an angry outburst in class, and who walked out when I used rival sports teams as an example of ingroup/outgroup biases. He then stopped attending class and stopped doing assignments. When I talked to him about this, he told me it wasn't a statement or anything against me or the class, he was just busy. Right. Whatever - I still don't want to fail him.
  • Part of how I know he is hostile towards me and the class (as if I need more evidence - he is also the one who has made sexist remarks about me in the back of the class from the very first day) is that in class on friday - in front of the whole class - he accused me of plagiarizing my powerpoints. Nice.
  • A student emailed me yesterday (remember, the paper is due tomorrow) saying she couldn't figure out what to write her paper on. I have yet to reply - and am tempted to respond tomorrow and say, "Oh I'm sorry, I just got this!"
  • Part of my negative reaction to this is thinking about my own student behaviors. I was not always a good student - and I procrastinated a ton - but there was no way in hell I would have either let my profs know how much I procrastinated (oh the shame!) nor make them responsible for my irresponsibility. And I certainly would never have contacted them over the weekend asking for help *before* monday.
  • I had asked my TAs to write something up on how to cite in APA style. They did, and I sent them some corrections, and asked them to present it in class on friday. Come friday only one TA is there in class - I asked her if she could present it - she said the other TA had the powerpoints. She then just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Sorry." I (feeling super annoyed) quickly edited the version they sent me and had her present it. I asked them afterwards to send me a fully corrected version so I could post it. Have heard nothing. I tried to post a version I fixed - blackboard is down.
  • I think part of why I got this reaction from the TA (shrugging of shoulders and saying sorry) is that I think people think I am much more easygoing than I am. Yet I am super duper anal.
  • A student emailed me last week to complain about his grades - he claims he works really really hard on his papers, and yet only gets Cs. He then noted that he and many other students have decided that the grading of papers is biased and that we mark them down for opinions with which we disagree.
  • These are not opinion papers.
  • I would not even be able to tell you of any opinions I might hold in terms of this course content.
  • I have my TAs write at the end of every single paper, "For more credit next time, here are the things you should work on..."
  • Almost every single time the things to work on are: summarize the text and lectures less, analyze more, use more concrete examples, proofread your papers.
  • This is for almost every students who gets less than an A.
  • I also make my TAs write positive things on every single paper.
  • Do students really think that accusing their profs of bias is an effective means of getting help?
  • I suggested this student come in and meet with me and we would go over his papers.
  • Surprise surprise - he did not show to our appointment.
  • As one of my TAs said, it is easier to write an angry email than to take feedback and incorporate it.
  • I'm sure none of you will blame me if I curve the grades really heavily in the end such that most students get grades that are much better than they deserve.
  • I'm also sure that a jury of my peers would not convict me if I were to throttle one of my students.



At 11:39 AM, Blogger Limon de Campo said...

Wow! I feel your pain; I've had students like that. At my current institution, most students would rather die than turn in a paper late, and they work hard to ensure that they improve their work and get As in every class. They make it easy for me.

The students you describe just sort of suck. It's not you, it's them! Don't forget that you are still a good teacher: they are simply bad students.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger StyleyGeek said...

he accused me of plagiarizing my powerpoints.

You seriously have the WORST students EVER. What an arsehole!

I'm also sure that a jury of my peers would not convict me if I were to throttle one of my students.

Hey, maybe we can go to court together! Then we'll both get off our respective murder charges, and we can go out afterwards and celebrate.

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Anastasia said...

my students assume the opposite, that I'm a lot more uptight than I am. I wonder what makes them decide in one direction or the other. clearly nobody is getting it right.


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