23 October, 2012

What Was She Thinking?

It had been a week or two since I had graded and returned their first exam. As is my custom, I used all of the letter grades. Sigh. Just once I'd like to see all 'A's. Even 'A's and 'B's would be a thrill. It's hard not to feel as though you've wasted your time when there are numerous 'F's and 'D's.

My typical test in this course has ten brief essay questions of which students must answer any eight. They can skip two. The second exam is not far off. My students know that one of the ten questions from the first exam will be on the second exam, and they must answer it. It's my way of not letting them immediately forget what they studied earlier in the semester. It's important for them to have good answers to each of those first ten questions whether they answered them or not.

It was in that context that a student approached me after class asking if she could meet with me so she could be certain she was clear on what was a 'good answer.' With as straight a face as I could manage, I said 'No.' Her response was to say 'okay' and start to leave.

I stopped her, explained I was teasing, and noted that I was available any time for that. I explained to her that was my job, that was teaching, and that was what I do. I live for the student who will seek me outside of class to help them learn. There is enormous reward in that.

When she finally comes in, I will also talk to her about being more assertive with her educational expectations. I believe she has a right to that assistance. I mean, what was she thinking?