Monday, May 5, 2008

Student email

This is why I regularly want to pitch myself out the window. Oh wait. This is why I regularly want to shove my students off of cliffs into a fiery abyss.

Professor,

Just wondering when the grades were going to be up , If a student doesn't pass your course and has to wait like I have all summer eng are full , getting grades in your course is like pulling teeth , this isn't the only course that I have taken but by far it is the most difficult to get my grades, Last time you emailed me you said Monday and here it is none of my grades are posted an I am off to work and wont have a chance to see them until tomorrow and hopefully can get an eng course so that my degree isn't delayed but just this course. The effort is on the students to pass but the teacher is expected to grade the papers in a timely manner.

XXX.


Here is what I wrote back. To XXX.



XXX,

You have not received feedback in a timely manner not because I have not been reading papers, but because you did not follow the directions and submit your papers in the right file type. All semester I received papers from you that I could not open. The course orientation and the contract you agreed to clearly state that all files are to be in .doc format, or I can’t read them. This requirement is in line with Sweet Little College policy as well. Please also note that most English teachers read ONE draft of a paper and the student has to live with the grade, whatever it is. I reread papers constantly to help students get better grades. As a result, I now have an entire semester’s worth of papers to grade in less than two weeks. Is it surprising that it would take me a little bit of time to accomplish that?

I am truly sorry that you are frustrated, but I am doing the best I can. Call me if you want to discuss this further.

Professor Nina



I might have been too nice. Or not. I have lost all perspective. What do you think?

17 comments:

Avitable said...

I think you should have just written back with:

"XXX,

F."


Missed you this weekend. Really wish you could have made it down to Philly.

Woodrow said...

I definitely wouldn't have extended the invitation to the shit for brains to call you.

Too nice. For sure.

Sara said...

I agree with the too nice comments, though I may have been tempted to flunk the kid purely on the principle of comma usage and the LACK of periods. Back to English 101, XXX.

ricki said...

I would have responded very similarly.

Though I will admit to having e-mailed students back right away when they try to send me assignments in some not-recognized-by-any-computer-this-side
-of-Uzbekistan file format and tell them I can't open the stinking file.

I'm just waiting for the day someone emails a virus or a Trojan Horse to me and claims it's a paper.

HOWEVER, this kid is in an English class and he (she?) writes THAT as a letter to the teacher? I'd be tempted to grade the letter and say, "In the absence of any usable files, I am working based on the only sample of your writing I have....F."

Catherine said...

This is a college student? Dear Lord.

Finn said...

Damn it! Avi stole my comment. That e-mail alone warrants a big fat "F."

Your response was restrained and professional. And completely undeserved by the recipient.

LizB said...

Electronic paper submission? What be this thing whereof you speak? Hehe. Your response was professional and appropriate, if not perhaps a bit too nice. For fun, I need to scan and upload some of the hand-written drivel I spend my time grading. They are like the note from XXX, only worse.

LAS said...

I would fail this person based solely on the email that you received, Seriously, I mean, really, seriously, Fail the person. Is this person trying to get an English degree, I, honestly, couldn't, tell, But if they are, I don't think you should further this pursuit any more. For fuck's sake. I can't imagine what these papers look like.

maryse said...

you're too nice.

Sizzle said...

I sure hope that student is pursuing a degree in English because he/she can't write a sentence!

You're nice but I understand why. Plus, I think you got a good jab or two in there...not that the student will probably pick up on it.

Kate P said...

Yeah, Nina, don't pitch yourself out the window; please beat up the students who use "effort" when they mean "burden" or "onus."

And if there's anything the past year and a half has taught me, it's that where there's a will, there's a way. This past quarter I single-handedly got a second section opened for a course that was full, so I have zero sympathy for Student XXX. And I didn't do it by scolding people with nasty similes ("getting grades in your course is like pulling teeth").

Good on you for giving a reality check.

Mrs. Who said...

What Maryse said...you're extremely patient. Not that it sounds like he really wants to learn.

Effortlessly Average said...

I'm surprised you didn't include something about hellfire and brimstone. Or that it's all you can do to not shove them all into ovens with sharp sticks. The picture of restraint, you are.

Ki said...

Nice is good. Very . . . nice. Makes the world a better place. But I do hope that you wrote a really mean and nasty zinger--to relieve stress--and then deleted it.

It would be nice to know that other people did this too.

nightfly said...

XXX is a tool. Shmaybe you should pitch HIM out the window. (A first-floor window, no sense getting in too much trouble.)

Maggie said...

I agree that you were too nice. I agree that the writing in the e-mail is abominable and nigh illegible.

However, I would not have said anything about your grading burden for the next two weeks. Students don't give a shit about stuff like that, and in XXX's eyes, this may have weakened your argument.

I think, in the case of this student, you can just proceed with grading his/her first drafts,a dn save yourself the labor of grading all the subsequent docs.

Hang in there, babe!

imaginary binky said...

This solidifies why I did not pursued my original thought on becoming an English professor. You have far more patience than me.