Two Things

I’ve got two things to write about, both alternating between a huge sigh of relief and an anguished wail of frustration.

Let’s start with Jon shall we? Remember Jon? Well, despite my warnings of a few weeks ago, nothing about this student’s behavior or performance has changed for the better.

It’s another reporting week, so I emailed a copy of Jon’s page in my grade book to Sam, his department head, along with copies of the abysmal work he did on his mid-term; representative of this “work” is the fact that he answered essay questions about Martin Luther King’s “Dream” speech with sentence fragments – for example, his answer to “Why is Dr. King’s speech so powerful and such an effective piece of persuasion? Do you think that time has had any impact, positive or negative, on the effectiveness of the speech? Explain” was, and I quote:

The way he uses his words and compares the negative to the positive. Positive impact racism isn’t as bad as it used to be.

That’s it.

I came home last night to find this in my inbox:

Dear Chili:

Thank you for the e-mail. I can appreciate your frustration with Jon and can visualize the classroom setting. I’ve had conversations with him in the past but it seems that he thinks he knows it all. With your permission, I would like to sit and talk with him next week. If you think it best that both you and I sit and talk with Jon that is fine also. I’ll look for you on campus on Monday morning. I commend you for your commitment to Jon’s success despite his attitude and lack of dedication in your course. Excellent detail in your attachment, by the way.

Enjoy the upcoming weekend,

Seriously? For all the frustration and hassle, I really do love working at TCC.

Ready for the next one? I actually texted SaintSeester about this when I read it yesterday, it worked me up so.

This, completely unedited by me, is Charlotte‘s response to the second question of that same take-home exam, in which I asked students to characterize the tone of King’s speech, and to support their claims with examples from the work:

The tone of Dr. Kings speech, is one of power, yet with great regard of emotion. At times it sounds like is about to go all over powering, and a bit dark, like “let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.” It seems as if he is about to go all EMO (student emphasis), but at the last moment he goes back to normal Dr. King tone. The other tone of his speech, is very personable. Things that mean a lot to him self, yet able people who even today are able to relate and find a meaning to. I loved how he went on naming states, it lets people from different places connect to his idea.

She earned a 40 on the exam – there were two answers that she wrote that I, an exceedingly smart and intuitive woman with a fair bit of experience deciphering student-speak, couldn’t even understand.

Thankfully, Charlotte’s department head wasn’t surprised, either, when I brought a copy of this exam to her.



1 Comment

Filed under colleagues, concerns, failure, frustrations, General Griping, I love my boss, Teaching, writing, Yikes!

One response to “Two Things

  1. I know these egg-heads are frustrating; I try to remind myself (daily) that it is the “trouble” I remember. The good students who work hard tend to slip by our radar because they are not giving us fits!

    Here’s a recent one. I asked this on a midterm: What is meant by the phrase “software engineering?” The student wrote that he could not answer the question because he did not know what the word “phrase” meant.

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