My students were given an assignment to take note of new words they encounter in their reading. Part of the mission of our school is “to create independent learners,” and I thought that it would be better for them if they were the ones finding the vocabulary words, rather than having me go through and give them a list (why should *I* do that work? I know what the words mean!).
Here’s the assignment they got:
Please complete a printed list (handwritten is fine) of AT LEAST 15-20 vocabulary words. List the word, the page number it was found on, the part of speech, and a definition YOU UNDERSTAND for each word you find.
Maggie (remember Maggie?) decided to be a wise ass with this and completely blew it off. Her list was very clearly done last-minute, and she didn’t actually do what was asked of her. That, combined with the fact that she didn’t put a header on the other half of the assignment (to propose a paper topic to me), earned her a 70 for the assignment.
This morning, I got a note from Mags that said “It says I only got a 70/100 on this.”
No question, just the statement. I considered responding with “Yes, it does.” and leaving it at that, but I didn’t want to sink to her level. Instead, here’s what she got from me:
That’s right, Maggie, you do. Each part of the assignment was worth 50 points. You earned a 40 on your description paper proposal because you failed to put your name on it. You earned 30 points on your vocabulary assignment because I got the very strong impression that you blew it off. You didn’t list page numbers or the parts of speech like you were asked to do, the definitions you gave said very clearly that you didn’t actually look the words up, you spelled some of the words incorrectly, and you listed “air” as one of the vocabulary words, with a definition of “good for breathing.” The purpose of this assignment was for you to take some responsibility for learning new terms; you didn’t do that. Honestly, I think a 70 is generous.
I’m thinking that it’s time to take the darling aside and explain to her that while she may think she’s the shit with her wiseassery, I am not amused and it will continue to her detriment.