The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


Posted by Seeking Solace |

Last night, I made the mistake of checking my email at 9 PM. There was a message from my dean, telling me that one of my students and one of my instructors were in his office that evening. Seems there was an "incident" in class. Seems, the student was upset because there was a pop quiz on the reading assigned for that class. She did not read the assignment, and hence did poorly on the quiz. So, she blew up at the instructor.

About 10 PM, my mobile rings, it's my instructor. He told me that the student, who has a 4.0 GPA was convinced that the instructor was intentionally trying to sabotage her perfect GPA by giving a pop quiz. Never mind the fact that she did NOT read the assignment. She actually believes that this instructor hates her.  This is despite the fact that she has done well in the instructor's courses and has learned a great deal from him.

OK, so now with the mountains of things that instructors must do on a daily basis, we are also responsible for sabotage of a student's grade?

I talked my instructor off the ledge. He was really hurt by the allegation. He is a great instructor and the students like him. He is tough but fair. I told him that as far as he and I were concerned. The student was WAY out of line on this one. To throw a tantrum over a blown quiz that was clearly the student's fault, means that this student has issues that have nothing to do with his teaching or giving the quiz.

The student is what I commonly refer to as a "Grade Whore". OK, it's a bit pejorative, but I think it's also accurate. We all have students who fight us for every possible point. Earning anything lower than 90% means that the world will end at any moment. These are the students who see failure as futile. In fact, this student remarked to my instructor that she was thinking about going to law school, but won't now because my instructor has made it impossible for her to do it.

Wasn't it Elenore Roosevelt who said "No one makes you feel inferior without your consent"?

Bottom line here. The student acted way inappropriately. She needs to take responsibility for the fact that she choose not to read the assignment. She was told at the beginning of the term that there would be unannounced quizzes on the assigned readings. She has only herself to blame. And, if she thinks my instructor was harsh, she will not survive law school or the workforce, for that matter.

And, she and I will be having a frank discussion about anger management. And that in the words of Winston Churchill "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."


jo(e) said...

I think that kind of thing is also a result of the new thinking about academia that positions students as "customers." The customer who pays to get an education is "entitled" to the product -- a good transcript.

Rebecca said...

Love those quotes. A good quote can accomplish so much, and you've got two real winners there. Whip those ppl into shape! said...

That student needs to take responsibility for her own learning. How in the world did she come up with that assumption about your instructor is beyond me. Glad you were able to console the instructor.

rented life said...

I agree with jo(e). I think that's what I'm seeing at my location too--though you know how entitled downstate is already. :/

Every time I see the word Sabotage I have the Beastie Boys song in my head.

Alice said...

Also, there is too much emphasis on cuddling self-esteem. Students are conditioned that, regardless of their effort and/or abilities, they can "move mountains."

Seeking Solace said...

PL: That was play on Pandora when I wrote this! Seemed appropriate. :)

Seeking Solace said...

You all make great points. It all falls back on the "Students are the customer" and "We can't make the student feel bad because they have been told how "special" the are". It will not help them later.