Because It’s ALWAYS the Teacher’s Fault

If I weren’t actually living it, I wouldn’t believe it.

Grades posted at TCC yesterday.  I received this in my inbox this morning (as usual, completely unedited by me):

I do not understand why i failed this class. i handed in all the assignments that i missed if you could explain this that would be great.

Well, for starters, Kid, if you can’t manage to compose three properly-written sentences, I’d say that’s a pretty good start for an answer as to why you failed a writing course, but that’s just me.

Here’s what I replied and (and I cc’d the academic dean, just to CMA):

Betsy, simply handing in all the assignments is insufficient.  The work that you did was not done well enough to meet the standards of the course; for example, several of the missing assignments you handed in were only barely completed – on many, you answered questions with sentence fragments.  Your research paper was poorly done, and the revision that you submitted was only marginally better. The work that you did is not enough to meet the objectives of the class and was insufficient to earn you a passing grade.


Mrs.  Chili

I received this as a response to my explanation:

Mostly because the guidelines given for the assignments were not done well either. Having a writing assignment and giving free will to the assignment, and then failing them isnt fair. Whatever thats fine.

Can you just SEE the eyes rolling?  It’s all MY fault, clearly.  The student feels she has no responsibility for her failure.

Here’s my latest (and, as far as I’m concerned, last) volley, also cc’d to Dean G., to whom I’m going to refer any further correspondence from this student.  I’m done:

I beg to differ, Betsy.  The class was given a rubric for the research paper – you all knew exactly what I was looking for and how I was going to grade it.  The “free will” of which you speak was for the topic of the paper; I told the class that I wasn’t going to assign topics because I wanted you all to find something that interested you as individuals.  I was, however, very clear about how the paper should be formatted, how citations were to be completed, and how the organization should be arranged.  Not only did I hand out, several weeks beforehand, the very same rubric I used to grade the papers, but I also assigned the research chapter in the book and went over it in class.  As for the assignments in the book, the instructions for each exercise are very clearly stated.  I don’t believe that your assessment of the grading practices in this class are at all accurate.


Mrs.  Chili


*Last-minute addition under the “I love my boss” heading; I’ve been forwarding all of this to Dean G.  I woke up this morning to find this in my inbox:

Chili;  Point well taken.. interesting  how issues of freedom and free will  can play down to sloppiness and lack of attention to detail.

If you need to have a 3-way with you, me and Betsy, I am happy to accommodate.

See you after break if not before.. surgery in the AM .. oy.


This is the sort of thing I’m really going to miss when TCC closes….



Filed under composition, failure, frustrations, hybrids suck, I love my boss, student chutzpah, Yikes!

4 responses to “Because It’s ALWAYS the Teacher’s Fault

  1. nhfalcon

    Unbelieveable. I SO can’t wait to becme a high school teacher and deal with this kind of crap on an almost daily basis…

  2. Ah yes, the old “throw the blame right back” ploy. Perhaps it would have made make you feel slightly guilty IF she used proper english? Doubtful.

  3. Ay yi YI. I sympathize. I can’t really do more, but I sympathize.

  4. Your boss sounds great; however, you need to tell him that “having a three-way” has certain connotations that are probably not what he wants to imply. I suggest the phrase “have a meeting” instead. Not to go all Beavis-and-Butthead on you, but that did make me chortle.

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