Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wake-Up Call...

My friend, David Lewis, and another friend wrote a song with this title that was recorded by John Mayall. If you haven't heard it, you should go find it. It's great.

And, of course, it's a perfect title for my finals' week blog because, once again, I have these students who, all of a sudden, wake up and realize they probably won't pass the class they've been taking with me all semester, or that they probably won't make the grade they "need" to keep up their GPAs.

Well, I'm sorry, but it's too late for most of them. I understand illness, I understand procrastination, I understand "it slipped my mind," but now is not the time to ask for help or consideration. It's not as though I've added any "new" assignments to the schedule. I pretty much have it all mapped out at the beginning, so students shouldn't be surprised when they have work due.

Since last week, I have been grading papers, averaging grades, searching for grades I might have missed, looking for papers I might have overlooked (probably because they were turned in late), and I'm exhausted with excuses. I have one final to give and, after that, I'm turning in my grades. I need a break before my conference in Boston and before summer school begins on June 1. I just do not have the time or the inclination to cut anybody any slack at all.

I made it clear to my students that they were NOT to discuss their grades with me after dead week began. And what do I find in my email inbox? Questions about grades, of course. And, for my lit class, I went over the final exam questions--I read them out loud! And I have students bugging me to email them the questions because they missed the class. NO! If you didn't come to class or you didn't record them, don't ask. Enough already! Next thing they'll be asking me is to take the test for them. Please!

Every semester, I talk about personal resposibility, about being responsible for your own learning and your own success. At times, I feel that students want me to do everything for them; they want me to allow substandard work or give them a free pass if they can't do what I've asked them to do. I spend an enormous amount of time building my course sites--including information to help my students with their work. Half of them don't look at what I post and then get upset when I take points off their papers because they don't do what they are supposed to. How difficult is it to create a Works Cited page? Obviously, it's incredibly difficult because they haven't looked at the document I created and posted that shows them exactly how to do it!

And what's the deal about not asking for help during the semester? If you can't figure something out or have problems writing a thesis statement, why don't you ask the professor for help? It's part of our job. But please don't ask me to read your mind! I gave that up when I became mortal!

Yeah, my end-of-semester rant!

I love the students who hunger for knowledge for knowledge's sake--they're here for more than a grade. I just keep teaching for them.

Now I think I'll go check on the garden. Everything's growing in great leaps, and I can't wait for the first ripe tomato.

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