This morning, in a fit of what can only be described as woe bordering on despair, I had a look at my hybrid students’ grades. Let’s just say that they’re not good. I WANT these students to do well; I’m invested in their success and I want them to pass, so I thought I’d give them an opportunity to earn a few extra points this morning.
I had the class take out a sheet of paper and a pen, and told them that they were having a pop quiz. Now, I always promise, on the first day of my classes, that I will never give pop quizzes – I don’t think they’re fair, particularly to people who don’t feel they “test” well, so I assure my students that they will never be forced to perform on the spot. When the groaning started this morning, I told them that yes, it was a pop quiz, but that they could ONLY benefit. This was, essentially, an extra credit opportunity; they could either earn 25 points or have their grade left completely unaffected.
Right about now, they were starting to get excited.
Their excitement lasted right up until they heard what I wanted them to do for those 25 points.
As part of their homework assignment, the hybrid class was asked to read two chapters in the text. In both chapters, there were sample speeches with commentary on the craft and technique in the margins – key points of the lessons in the chapters were highlighted within the context of an actual speech. I asked the students to tell me the topic of just one of those speeches – either one would be fine – and I would add 25 points to their grade.
Every face dropped when I told them what I wanted, and not a single student was able to give me an answer.
Seriously. I’m not making any of this shit up.