T-Minus Two Weeks…

The semester at TCC is almost over.  Class is meeting today (despite the snow – see below for a bit of funny about that); after today, we’ve got Wednesday, then next Monday and Wednesday, and we’re done.

Today’s class will be spent talking about what makes good persuasion and about how to write a decent persuasive essay.  I’ve got a couple of examples to give to the students, and I’ll give them an overview of Aristotle’s appeals (ethos, logos, and pathos), plus the rubrics for both their final speeches and the papers they’ll need to research and write for the last class.  I’ll give them Wednesday to work on their projects; the last two classes will be set aside for presentation.

Most of the students took me up on my offer to accept late work for a D grade (I’ve made this deal before, and I’ve decided that even though it undermines my “no late work” policy, I like it for a couple of reasons – one; it gets the kids to actually DO the work, which is really the point, and two; it saves a number of students from failing).  As of right now, only 4 of my 17 are failing – that’s down from the 9 I had at mid-term.  I suspect a good many of them won’t be happy with their grades, but I am entirely confident that their grades reflect the quality of work they’ve given me to this point.

I have been thinking about this class and the grading policies that I follow.  Since this course (public speaking) is far less about knowledge per se than it is about demonstrable skills, I find that I’m far more careful about how I assess the students’ work.  I’m very careful to put out rubrics; in fact, the students will receive the rubrics for both their oral presentation AND their written piece today, so they’ll know what I’ll be looking for before they even start putting their projects together.  The truth of the matter is that once a student gives a speech, it’s gone – we can’t go back and review the grade because the performance is over and was not recorded.  Because of that, I’m found in the back of the room frantically scribbling notes and quotes from the students’ speeches as a means of backing up the grades that they receive.

I’ve got a story about one of my kids and why I’m nervous that she’s failing, but I’ll save that for another day.  For now, enjoy this email, sent to me by a student who is concerned about coming to class today in the snow (who still doesn’t understand how to open a polite letter (will they EVER stop addressing me as “Hey”?!) and who, it appears, speaks a dialect of Martian – anyone know what bexaiawnod means?):

Hey are we still having your class today bexaiawnod the snow? Because the roads are pretty bad where I’m at and it takes me 30 minutes to get there so I’m just wanting to make sure so I don’t have to drive there foe no reason

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7 Comments

Filed under about writing, composition, critical thinking, dumbassery, failure, funniness, General Griping, rhetoric, Teaching, The Job

7 responses to “T-Minus Two Weeks…

  1. When I Googled bexaiawnod it asked me if I meant Bwando which is some kind of energy drink. Actually, they call it, “The Thirst Mutilator.” So, maybe he was worried that he’d have to eat all the snow in order to get to school in time.

  2. I am almost in tears from laughing so hard at bexaiawnod. That’s my new favorite word!

  3. I would like to say that the writer’s fingers were not on the home row of the keyboard but if the words attempted were “because of” (without the space), part of the letters are correct.

    I would add that word to my blogging dictionary but I don’t think I would end up spelling it correctly.

  4. I laughed out loud at the comment about eating all the snow. My students are fifth graders and they have so recently had the “friendly letter format” drilled into their heads that I generally receive well written notes from them. As for rubrics, I use them for every project. It makes everything fair, not only for the students, but also for me because I can give a low grade without feeling extra pressure to justify myself.

  5. Why don’t you be the first to give a definition to “bexaiawnod”? You could go down in history as The Great Definer!

  6. Tell him to shut up and get his bexaiawnod to class.

  7. sphyrnatude

    I particularly liked the “drive there foe no reason”. Any good ‘ol hick hillbilly knows that should be spelled ‘fo .

    The scary part is that I can tell this ISN’T mr. ebonics, which means you have more than one student that writes like a (politically incorrect phrase warning – skip the next few words if you’re too sensitive) retarded 3rd grader grader. I’m starting to wonder if you have ANY students that can actually write at a level that I would expect from a college graduate.

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