From Betsy this afternoon; again, completely unedited by me:
i did the assignments plus handed you drafts you never got back to me on any of them. so how am i supposed to know if there good or not. An F is a little harsh. I am contesting this because i thinks its a bad call on oyur part.
(my favorite bit of that is “because I thinks its a bad call on oyur part.”)
I’ve not yet had the pleasure of student contesting my grade before; this will be an interesting adventure.
I have several things working in my favor: the truly substandard work that this student did, the fact that she was only occasionally in class, the fact that she handed in most of her assignments late (without arranging with me, as Last Minute Larry did, for their acceptance), and the fact that she is one of only three students who were unable to make the cut. That nineteen other students managed to work to the standards of the class ought to be evidence enough that the failure wasn’t mine as an instructor. That I was willing to work with Last Minute Larry – and that he managed to pass as a result of our negotiations – speaks to the fact that I’m not an intractable bitch with unreasonable standards. Still, it’s unnerving to be challenged like this. I’m astounded that her opinion (fantasy, really) of herself is so skewed that she actually thinks she stands a chance.
The Dean of Academics is someone I admire and respect. He’s tough, he’s pragmatic, and he believes very strongly that all our students need a solid foundation in literacy skills – stronger, even, than they’re currently getting. He’s a big supporter of the General Education department, and I’m not at all concerned that this is going to be adversarial. I’ve done my job – perhaps not as well as I would have liked, given the circumstances of this term, but I’ve not committed any reversible errors.
I’ll keep you all posted.