Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Monday, May 7, 2012


"But I really want an 'A.' "

So we go over the printed-out numbers again. Spotty attendance, lack of participation, late papers, missed assignments; no grades above  "C."

Mathematically speaking, she earned a "D."  No amount of extra credit, no last-minute work or grace can turn this sow's ear into a silk purse. In fact, it's only grace that has garnered the "D" that currently befuddles her.

"I feel like I tried really, really hard, and I really think that ought to count towards an 'A.' "

No.  Just....no. Accept the grade that you earned and stop embarrassing yourself (and me). You will have to take it again next semester; perhaps a bit more effort on your part will pay off. Maybe this has been a learning experience: better time management, more research, extra effort...

"But I've never gotten a grade this bad before. Ever! I tried so hard! Can't you just give me an 'A?' I really, really want one!" (Note: I've seen your college transcripts. This is a lie.Your performance is on par with last semester: abysmal.)

Across the hall, Dr. Flannel utters a Wookiee-like growl of utter aggravation and frustration, as I -- for the third time -- go over the math.

It adds up the same. "D." People in Hell want icewater; students want easy/unearned "A's." It's axiomatic.

She leaves, weeping and railing at my cruelty, my unfairness, the shame of it. Dr. Flannel gives me a sympathetic shrug as I watch her go. He asks her major, and snorts when I say "Counseling Ed."

God fucking damn the people who fill these kids' heads with unrealistic expectations. The ones who socially promote them, who tell them that everyone deserves a trophy, everyone's a winner...the ones who prop them up, and fudge their numbers in order to pad them from ever experiencing failure on any level whatsoever....and then turn them loose with no coping mechanisms to use when they do fail. They fall farther and harder when they've been cossetted and shielded for all their lives.

Some people just aren't meant for college. It's not fair to build their dreams, sell them a white elephant, and collect interest on their failure.


  1. If you tried, you would have a better grade.

  2. Alas, it seems to be the way of the world. Well, some of the world, because my kids know better. Yours do, as well. Still, I feel that we are shoveling against the inexorable tide of mediocrity disguising itself as excellence that the world not only of academia, but in general, seems to be overwhelming the world.

  3. What you say is oh so true, and THIS is what the current generation is expecting (everybody to give in to them)... Reality doesn't work that way, and you're correct, they CANNOT cope with failure(well deserved) OR reality!!!

  4. 1. "I don't give grades, I award the ones _you_ earn."

    2. In teaching (local CC) I have come the the conclusion that college and formal education just isn't for everyone. We also need skilled labor, and many of these kids would do better to take up a trade. They will do well for themselves and be happier without the harsh failures.

  5. This semester, one of my students posted a plea for a passing grade on the college-wide facebook site. His reasoning? He had a lot of plans this summer, and summer school would keep him from accomplishing those plans.

    Another student accompanied her final portfolio with a picture of Jesus begging for her to pass. I teach at a religious school, and I did what I thought Jesus would do: give her the F she earned.

  6. Shoulda told her "There's always OWS - you'll fit right in..."

  7. Thank goodness I had very little of this dreck Spring semester. Fall, though, was all about the grovel. Bless their hearts, they have to "hit bottom" at some point.

  8. I remember taking a class that I was overjoyed to escape with a "D". Of course, that was P-Chem, not Comp, but still... mother ass, that class was a cast-iron bitch (the class, not the prof)... Jesus, I'm still emotionally scarred and that was over 30 years ago. Talk about your weeping and railing...

  9. Oh damn! I had a nasty flashback. I was accused of being a commie sympathizer because the Russians all got better grades. I pointed out if I was really a com-symph, I'd be grading the Californians better. Most all the Russkies were NRA members! I was propositioned in that class. I told them both I'd break them in half. If they wanted to trade sex for grades, I'd oblige, but professor Rocco Sifridi, would be conducting those exams!

  10. The good thing about teaching science (including P-Chem, hee) is that they really can't argue their way around the grades. Especially because I can smell the ones who will be trouble from day 1 and photocopy their labs, quizzes, etc, so I can whip them out at a moment's notice.

    And @Doctor Benway: I got pulled over for expired tags while having a complete breakdown. The cop found out that I was coming from my first P-chem exam. He told me that, "P-chem is why I'm a cop. Go home and drink. A lot." I decided to respect authority.


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