Wednesday, January 9, 2008

In which I fall on my own sword

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, Fellow Academics, Fellow Students, Fellow carbon-based life forms:

I screwed up. 

I can't believe it.  (Well, I can).  

A student's mom called the Dean this week and went ballistic over her son's grade.  Her argument against his F is that he never got feedback from me.  Nonsense!  I said.  Of course I gave feedback.  I feed people back.  It is what I do.  

Of course, it is what I do when I actually do it.   Meaning, when I actually attach the file to an email to return it to the student.   Guess what I didn't do?

Yeah.   So the student, apparently unconcerned about the lack of feedback, assumed that despite the Fs in the gradebook and a sizeable number of blanks indicating late work, chose not to worry about whether he would pass until the moment when he found out he had, in fact, failed.  

My failure:  attaching comments to emails. 

His failure:  failing to care until he got his grade and his mom got pissed at him.  

So needless to say, this has not been a great day for me as a teacher (and carbon-based life form).  More on this debacle - and what I plan to do to fix it - later.  

I have lots of other feeling sad and stupid to do before this day is over. 


3 comments:

Teacher said...

Call me naive, but as a college student, one would think that if they received an F on something without explanation, they would go to the teacher?

I do not see how you can take the entire blame on this one?

walter wimberly said...

As someone who taught for 7 years full time, I always told my students it takes two to learn - a teacher and a student. Learning doesn't happen if only one of us is working. Now that I'm only teaching part time I still tell my students that in the opening lecture - because its the biggest truth in school.

Personally I hated having to deal with the "Helicopter Parents" (almost always a mom). I would usually turn it back on the student and ask them why the student didn't get the work in, why they didn't study for the exams, why they didn't check their grades if they were so concerned. I usually explained that at some point the child needed to take personal responsibility for their (in)actions. I fear for those students future bosses. Don't know if that would help you, but it can't hurt.

Audra said...

It's a partnership, the student is old enough to ask.

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