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Author Topic: Bang Your Head on Your Desk - the thread of teaching despair!  (Read 2643088 times)
2clueless
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In the classroom, with the red pen


« Reply #4530 on: January 21, 2012, 8:49:59 pm »

So I get a nice whine back, that it's not his fault, and that he didn't "choose" to miss class.   He's got a rare medical disorder and had to see the doctor. I didn't even read the whole thing, because I don't want to know.  I'm done e-mailing with him, and realize that I should have never started.  I've forwarded and copied to my chair, who thinks he's a twit.  Why oh why did he choose my section?

Ok, here's the despair.  Missing was still a "choice".  Going to the doctor was probably the better choice, and more important, but he did have a choice.  And considering that we just got off of a 5 week break on Tuesday...

Refer him to Disability Services and tell him that you can't do anything without paperwork from them. I believe your description of the student's behavior in class and office hours, but if the student truly has a rare medical condition, then it's entirely possible that he actually doesn't have a "choice": rare med specialists often have few options when it comes to scheduling (even fewer if it's a rare surgical speciality, because one needs to schedule around the OR schedule), and he may be required to check-in for medication refills, medication checks, or blood draws related to medication. Of course, the student may be blowing smoke, in which case a referral to Disability Services and statement that classes missed without a DS accommodation letter will provide you with a cover if he makes a fuss. It's wonderful that you were able to get through medical fiascos of your own and your mother's without missing class, but not all of us with chronic illnesses or family emergencies are able to do the same.
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I can't keep all these feelings at bay
I am rage, I am sorrow and grief
All alone in my way.

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anon99
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« Reply #4531 on: January 22, 2012, 10:09:41 am »

My damn students can't read a calendar.

Mine can't tell time. Shall we set up a matchmaking service?

And we have some who can figure out how rulers work.  How many mm in a cm? Let's count the number of lines. (oh and we are in Canada so they have only ever used the metric system.)
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galactic_hedgehog
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« Reply #4532 on: January 22, 2012, 10:59:05 am »

My damn students can't read a calendar.

Mine can't tell time. Shall we set up a matchmaking service?

And we have some who can figure out how rulers work.  How many mm in a cm? Let's count the number of lines. (oh and we are in Canada so they have only ever used the metric system.)

Maybe they are children of families who fled the US when the GOP took over the House or W was elected?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 10:59:35 am by galactic_hedgehog » Logged

funkypeanut
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« Reply #4533 on: January 22, 2012, 2:09:55 pm »

To my dear sweet YOUNG students - you have to read beyond the text! 

I'd be happy if they'd simply READ THE TEXT, let alone beyond it.  I can't count the number of people who didn't properly (if at all) read the lab procedure last week.  As for the lecture text, I think they use it as a doorstop.  I've already been given comments about how I "didn't tell them <something clearly explained in text>."  *SIGH*

I overheard a student before class bragging that he had never bought a textbook because "books are just useless." I really wanted to say, "Oh, that's why you're taking this class again!"
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octoprof
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« Reply #4534 on: January 22, 2012, 6:17:29 pm »

To my dear sweet YOUNG students - you have to read beyond the text! 

I'd be happy if they'd simply READ THE TEXT, let alone beyond it.  I can't count the number of people who didn't properly (if at all) read the lab procedure last week.  As for the lecture text, I think they use it as a doorstop.  I've already been given comments about how I "didn't tell them <something clearly explained in text>."  *SIGH*

I overheard a student before class bragging that he had never bought a textbook because "books are just useless." I really wanted to say, "Oh, that's why you're taking this class again!"

You can't really say that, can you?  But you can say,"And how's that been working out for you?"
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fancypants
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« Reply #4535 on: January 22, 2012, 7:24:16 pm »

I have issued a paying-attention-and-following-the-directions assignment in which students must take an unformatted body of text and format it in a specific way.  I pointed them to the sample documents in this format in their textbook and online, as well as to a step-by-step tutorial in how to format this sort of document.  Essentially, it's a "take this, and follow these steps to make it look like that" affair.

The students have had several days to complete this assignment, which is due by the end of the day today.  Here are the stats so far:

  • Class X: 25% turned in, none are correct
  • Class Y: 50% turned in, none are correct
  • Class Z: 50% turned in, none are correct

The differences in format between what's being turned in and what should be turned in are glaring--such that I do not see how anyone could look at the sample documents, look at their work, and think "Yep.  Mine looks just like the sample!  Time to turn that in!"  Worst of all, the worst offenders so far are the students who have already taken a class from me, who were only last semester capable of producing documents in this format. This  semester's going to call for an increase in my liquor budget.

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marigolds
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« Reply #4536 on: January 22, 2012, 10:51:47 pm »

I have issued a paying-attention-and-following-the-directions assignment in which students must take an unformatted body of text and format it in a specific way.  I pointed them to the sample documents in this format in their textbook and online, as well as to a step-by-step tutorial in how to format this sort of document.  Essentially, it's a "take this, and follow these steps to make it look like that" affair.

The students have had several days to complete this assignment, which is due by the end of the day today.  Here are the stats so far:

  • Class X: 25% turned in, none are correct
  • Class Y: 50% turned in, none are correct
  • Class Z: 50% turned in, none are correct

The differences in format between what's being turned in and what should be turned in are glaring--such that I do not see how anyone could look at the sample documents, look at their work, and think "Yep.  Mine looks just like the sample!  Time to turn that in!"  Worst of all, the worst offenders so far are the students who have already taken a class from me, who were only last semester capable of producing documents in this format. This  semester's going to call for an increase in my liquor budget.



They are like Etch-A-Sketches. They have to erase everything in order to change anything. 
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professor_pat
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« Reply #4537 on: January 23, 2012, 1:11:22 am »


...

The students have had several days to complete this assignment, which is due by the end of the day today.  Here are the stats so far:

...

Worst of all, the worst offenders so far are the students who have already taken a class from me, who were only last semester capable of producing documents in this format. This  semester's going to call for an increase in my liquor budget.



They are like Etch-A-Sketches. They have to erase everything in order to change anything.


That is a purely brilliant simile.
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lilac53
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« Reply #4538 on: January 23, 2012, 6:18:32 am »

I had a long post detailing the problems I've been having with this particular student over the course of the semester, but I deleted it for fear of it being recognised. Let's just say Student has some psychological issues, of which I've been very accommodating, giving her an unpenalised extension on his coursework. She has waited until the very last moment to submit these (due by 9am this morning, emailed to me at 8.55am).

So, I'm reading these now. One of the assignments is a response journal, in which students engage with the theoretical writings we cover in the course. Bear in mind, the course is a theory course - nothing but theory, theory, theory all semester long. It's hard, yes. But it's a masters course. Here is what I have as a response to one of the theorists:

"This theory is overly dense and complex, and is boring, so much so that "This Article" is near impossible to comprehend. This is my opinion."

That's it. Now, I can't say I don't agree with her in terms of the complexity, though I would dispute the boring part - but honestly, this, at graduate level? Much of the rest of the journal is flippant and inflammatory, as well, though not as bad as this. Some of this hostility is clearly directed at me - she thinks that I have been unsympathetic to her situation (she's been to the Chair to complain, even though I've given him the unpenalised extension, without any request for documentation or anything. She was sent packing). Now I'm going to end up giving her a bad grade, thus "proving" to her that I don't like her, and ensuring that this is going to carry on and on and on. Sigh.

head::desk.
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galactic_hedgehog
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« Reply #4539 on: January 23, 2012, 10:13:13 am »

And we have some who can figure out how rulers work.  How many mm in a cm? Let's count the number of lines. (oh and we are in Canada so they have only ever used the metric system.)

I remain undecided about the group of students who asked if they could have a ruler and a meter stick on a group test redo.  They wanted to measure the meter stick to find out how many centimeters in a meter to double check that they were doing a conversion right.  That's full credit for designing a useful experiment without prompting to solve a problem, but zero credit for reading comprehension (the conversion was on a page marked "Unit Conversions") and use of a meter stick (yep, that stick is marked with centimeters so just looking tells one the answer).

Maybe the meter stick is a cheap knock-off with centimeters 9 mm apart?
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mountainguy
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« Reply #4540 on: January 23, 2012, 11:55:19 am »

Moments before the first exam in my class this morning.

Student #1: Dude, you have the wrong textbook.
Student #2: But <name of student who failed last semester> gave it to me.
Student #1: Professor Mountainguy changed books.
Student #2: Awwww, dude!

Student #2 still managed to earn a 72% on the exam. Go figure.
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scotia
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« Reply #4541 on: January 23, 2012, 12:16:28 pm »

I had a long post detailing the problems I've been having with this particular student over the course of the semester, but I deleted it for fear of it being recognised. Let's just say Student has some psychological issues, of which I've been very accommodating, giving her an unpenalised extension on his coursework. She has waited until the very last moment to submit these (due by 9am this morning, emailed to me at 8.55am).

So, I'm reading these now. One of the assignments is a response journal, in which students engage with the theoretical writings we cover in the course. Bear in mind, the course is a theory course - nothing but theory, theory, theory all semester long. It's hard, yes. But it's a masters course. Here is what I have as a response to one of the theorists:

"This theory is overly dense and complex, and is boring, so much so that "This Article" is near impossible to comprehend. This is my opinion."

That's it. Now, I can't say I don't agree with her in terms of the complexity, though I would dispute the boring part - but honestly, this, at graduate level? Much of the rest of the journal is flippant and inflammatory, as well, though not as bad as this. Some of this hostility is clearly directed at me - she thinks that I have been unsympathetic to her situation (she's been to the Chair to complain, even though I've given him the unpenalised extension, without any request for documentation or anything. She was sent packing). Now I'm going to end up giving her a bad grade, thus "proving" to her that I don't like her, and ensuring that this is going to carry on and on and on. Sigh.

head::desk.

I feel your pain. We have a Massively Problematic Student (see the Venting Thread) who we have tried to be reasonable with, but who seems to set out to inflame any situation she can and use it to demonstrate how unreasonable we are (for example, because we said that attending a wedding was not grounds for late submission of a piece of work she had known about for four weeks before, and that the usual late penalty would apply, we are seemingly "completely unwilling to listen to reasonable excuses and obviously have no idea about real life"). In the meantime, the student has not submitted any of the four pieces of work due before the mid-December.

I have learned that there is absolutely no benefit from trying to reason with the student. She has her own bizarre view of the world and anything that does not conform to that view is unreasonable. We simply follow the procedures rigorously (we have learned not to bend for this student) and document everything.
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libwitch
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« Reply #4542 on: January 23, 2012, 2:34:37 pm »

Sadly, I have worked with students at the graduate level (both as a librarian and as a peer, when I was getting my second masters) that - well, this was, to them, a valid opinion at the graduate level.  Thankfully, many of them didn't last long at that level. But they did manage to make it through college without ever grasping concepts such as critical thinking, application of knowledge, or reflective thought.    Of course, some of them had social science and humanities degrees - and bragged they never wrote a paper, either.  Which I still can't figure out.

I had a long post detailing the problems I've been having with this particular student over the course of the semester, but I deleted it for fear of it being recognised. Let's just say Student has some psychological issues, of which I've been very accommodating, giving her an unpenalised extension on his coursework. She has waited until the very last moment to submit these (due by 9am this morning, emailed to me at 8.55am).

So, I'm reading these now. One of the assignments is a response journal, in which students engage with the theoretical writings we cover in the course. Bear in mind, the course is a theory course - nothing but theory, theory, theory all semester long. It's hard, yes. But it's a masters course. Here is what I have as a response to one of the theorists:

"This theory is overly dense and complex, and is boring, so much so that "This Article" is near impossible to comprehend. This is my opinion."

That's it. Now, I can't say I don't agree with her in terms of the complexity, though I would dispute the boring part - but honestly, this, at graduate level? Much of the rest of the journal is flippant and inflammatory, as well, though not as bad as this. Some of this hostility is clearly directed at me - she thinks that I have been unsympathetic to her situation (she's been to the Chair to complain, even though I've given him the unpenalised extension, without any request for documentation or anything. She was sent packing). Now I'm going to end up giving her a bad grade, thus "proving" to her that I don't like her, and ensuring that this is going to carry on and on and on. Sigh.

head::desk.
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mountainguy
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« Reply #4543 on: January 23, 2012, 5:08:28 pm »

My best wishes to Lilac, Scotia, and others who are dealing with massive problem students. That's especially terrifying that you're getting this at the graduate level.

File this one in the "not my problem" category, but still distressing . . . my officemate is out sick today. A very polite ESOL student came by to see him for his regular office hours. Unfortunately, the student did not appear to understand what "re-schedule" or "out sick" meant. It took me 2 minutes and great effort to convey that she should send him an email to set up another time.
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lizardmom1
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« Reply #4544 on: January 23, 2012, 5:59:04 pm »

My best wishes to Lilac, Scotia, and others who are dealing with massive problem students. That's especially terrifying that you're getting this at the graduate level.

File this one in the "not my problem" category, but still distressing . . . my officemate is out sick today. A very polite ESOL student came by to see him for his regular office hours. Unfortunately, the student did not appear to understand what "re-schedule" or "out sick" meant. It took me 2 minutes and great effort to convey that she should send him an email to set up another time.

If this student's English skills are this poor, I wonder how on Earth he/she can possibly comprehend the (hopefully) more difficult course content.
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Lizardmom1
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