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View Diary: News From the Chalk Lines: Finals Week (55 comments)

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  •  Sounds like something my wife would write... (9+ / 0-)

    ...that's one of the disadvantages of working at a $45,000 per year "New Ivy" school:  you get a lot of spoiled rich brats that have had everything in their lives handed to them on a silver platter, and expect professors to do the same.  

    They typical story:  kid shows up for class sporadically, and when he does, he smells like distillery, and spends most of the class with his hand under the desk texting (back in my day if you sat with your hand under your desk, people might think you were playing with yourself).  He does poorly.  He then runs to my wife saying she needs to raise his grade, or he won't get into medical school.  

    Wife says "No."  

    Kid gets in a huff.  "My parents pay your salary!"  

    "Well, they pay part of it.  It takes about four parents to pay my salary, and the other three would be pissed if their kid who worked his ass off and got an "A" had that achievement cheapened by someone getting an "A" who rarely shows up for class, and is generally still drunk from the night before if he does."

    Kid goes to academic dean.  Wife is dragged in front of academic committee to defend the grade the student earned.  She brings attendance records, grades, and papers that look as though they were written by an 8th grader. Some people on the committee pressure her to be more lenient.   She refuses.  

    Happens every year around this time.  

    When she worked at a comm college for a semester as an adjunct, she said the students there were a lot less whiny.  For the most part, they knew how lucky they were to be there, and worked their asses off to make the best of it.  

    •  The worst part.. (4+ / 0-)

      The kid will probably get into Med., Vet or Dental school due to influential parents..Taking a spot away from someone who worked their proverbial asses off..Just saw this with a kid who went to HS with my daughter. He majored in extreme sports and communications in Colorado, took 6 years to graduate with a BA (low gpa)....Just found out from his parents that he was accepted into a Med school..Another classmate of hers,  BS Bio..4.0 gpa is on his third year of applications.

      Do something...marinedefenders.com

      by profewalt on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 08:33:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I remember when my wife applied to grad school... (6+ / 0-)

        She applied at Harvard and Cornell for the Ivys, U Chicago, Stanford, two state schools (Wisconsin and Indiana), and University of Toronto. (Amusingly, the only ones who turned her down were University of Wisconsin and Indiana University!)

        Anyway, at the Harvard meet and greet for prospective students, the applicants were talking about application process and the subject of rec letters came up...  One guy bragged that he got a rec letter from the Surgeon General.  My wife, impressed, asked "How do you know the Surgeon General?"  

        The guy said he didn't know him.  He wrote the letter himself and his dad had a friend of a friend of a friend who worked at the Surgeon General's office stamp his signature on it.  

        All these kids had similar stories.  

        My wife wasn't impressed.   The people who wrote her recs are pretty well known (if you're a scientist in her field), but she knew each one of them personally.  She still keeps in touch with them all these years later....  

        So yeah, you're absolutely right there.  It all comes down to who you know.    

    •  I wonder how much (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Killer of Sacred Cows, ladybug53

      a student's personality affects their grades.  I was a very shy, quiet student and never talked with my professors.  My son is the same way, perhaps for different reasons though. He said it just never occurred to him to become friendly with his teachers.  I would guess that at least 80% of my professors didn't know who I was.

      We both know more outgoing students who were much more familiar with the professors and whose professors always knew their names and something about them.  It would seem to me that this would have some impact on grading.

      I also wonder if some of the students who write very personal things about themselves in an assignment do so as a way of letting their teachers know who they are because they are uncomfortable talking to them in person

      Oh, and do students who write long sentences drive you crazy?

      I know it drove a couple of my professors nuts! It is a hard habit to break.

      ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

      by jennybravo on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 12:34:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Depends.... (2+ / 0-)

        The most impressive people I've ever seen are usually quiet.  They're the ones who sit there for 45 minutes and say absolutely nothing.  They just look and listen.  Then they finally say something.  The room goes silent.  They say a sentence or two and it's the most profound thing you'll hear all day long.  

        If you are shy, you might better off at a small school.   Compare my education to my wife's:  I went to Massive State U., she went to Small Town Liberal Arts college.  I never saw professors.  When I did, they had no idea who I was.  She called her profs by their first names, and still talks with them to this day.  Some of my classes were held in theaters that were designed to hold 300+ people.  In her classes, she was usually one of less than 12; once she was in a class of three students, and the class was specifically put together for them!  

        Both types of educations have their benefits and detractions.  I think if you're pretty shy, Small Town Liberal Arts College is the place for you.  If you're able to thrive in an impersonal, rat-race like environment and have the kind of personality to seek things out and take them, you might have more opportunities at Massive State.

        The daughter of a friend just started her freshman year at Massive State.  He and his wife tried pushing her towards Small Town Liberal Arts College since they felt her personality would be a better fit there, and since money was no concern.  One of her concerns was that she grew up her whole life in a small town in a rural state:  she wants to get into a bigger, busier, livelier place.  It will be interesting to see how she makes out when the report cards come out next week.    

        It bothers me when anyone uses run-on sentences.  But I find myself doing it from time-to-time, so I can't complain too much.  The difference is, I usually fix mine.   ;)  

        •  I actually did (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Killer of Sacred Cows

          well. I graduated from the University of Washington with a 3.85 GPA.  But I always envied the students who were more outgoing with their professors. Since I was the first in my family's history to attend college, it never occurred to me that I could be friendly with the teachers.

          My son is currently a junior a Yale and is doing okay.  His current GPA is about 3.4.  I must admit to being slightly disappointed  that his GPA doesn't quite make the "A" territory. I was used to his 4.0 GPA in high school. But in his defense it is Yale, and he is working 20-24 hours a week and involved in a couple of student groups.  But I still worry about him getting into a top notch grad school.

          I also find it odd that parents would actually contact the professors. I'd never dream of it. And my son would have heart failure if I did.

          ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

          by jennybravo on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 01:38:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It might not affect grading, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Killer of Sacred Cows

        it could have an impact in other ways, especially at a large university. Most students eventually need recommendation letters from faculty members, and detailed letters have much more impact. If a top student asks me for a letter, and I have never spoken to her, what can I say? Only that she was in my class and got outstanding grades. I can write a MUCH better letter if I know how she got where she is, and why she wants to do whatever it is she is applying for.

        Shyness is also a disadvantage if it prevents someone from taking advantage of opportunities like student research, or advanced reading courses. These usually require a student to approach and interact with a faculty member.

        The good news is that there are plenty of low-stress ways to catch a faculty member's attention. My favorite is when a student e-mails a link to an article or news story relevant to a topic from class. In fact, it makes my day, and it would be a great thing for a reserved student to try. Quiet students sometimes show up for my office hours with a couple of outgoing friends; this gives them a chance to make an impression without that awkward one-on-one interaction.

        Students can do very, very well without doing any of these things, but they might miss out on some activities that they would really enjoy.

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