Daily Archives: November 2, 2006

The Final Reckoning

I’m handing in the grades for my Foundations class this morning on my way home from my chiropractor appointment. In the final counting, just under half of the students failed the course.

When I factored in all the lab work that DID get done, I ended up with 7 out of 17 students with scores below the 60% necessary to pass. I’m sure, at some point, I’ll get into a whole, long sermon about what I think about 60% being a passing grade, but I just don’t have it in me to fight that particular battle at the moment. Suffice to say that I don’t think that getting the right answer once more than half the time constitutes sufficient skill, in college OR real life. I’m pretty sure – though I’d have to ask my mathematically inclined friends – that you can beat that percentage just by guessing.

What I’m really tripping about is the fact that – against my better judgment and contrary to what I stated at the outset of the course – I gave the students until last night to finish the lab work they owed me – and damned near NONE of them did it. If more of the students had actually availed themselves of that opportunity – only two did – many more would have passed. As it was, the two that went back and did the work they needed to do managed to squeak OUT of failing; they brought their grades up over the requisite 60% and, as a result, don’t have to do this again. The rest of them? Don’t sell your book back to the bookstore just yet, kids – it’s going to come in handy in 12 weeks when the new English term starts up again.

So! What did *I* learn while teaching this class? Well, I learned – or, rather, had reconfirmed for me – that this is definitely what I want to do. I had a BLAST. I love the job and really want to keep doing it. I also learned that going back on my hard-ass deadline-or-die policy is a bad idea. The work is due when it’s due, period. If I don’t have it when I asked for it, it may not be handed in later. Tracking down all the different labs that people owed me the night before grades were due was just exhausting, and I’m not interested in doing that again. Finally, I learned that, even if I can’t reach EVERYONE, I can reach a few. I really connected with at least two – possibly three – students in the class. I TAUGHT them something. Light bulbs went off. There’s little that’s more satisfying than seeing the proverbial light dawn.

It’s a high, and I’m an addict.


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