I’m being used for target practice… September 27, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in education, teaching.
Tags: favoritism, frustration, incoming freshman, students, target, teaching
Have you ever had a student who felt like they were above doing the homework for a class?
I have the problem frequently because my class is required for all incoming freshman. Somehow, there will be one or two that will fall through the cracks and end up taking it as an upperclassman. Or maybe they come in as a transfer student and someone thinks it’s a good idea for them to take the class. This is never a good situation as most of what I have to tell them, they may have already learned by trial and error. However, in fairness to the other students, I have to make them jump through all the same hoops that they do.
Many times I get the question, “Do you really expect me to do this?”
Yes. I do.
At which point they roll their eyes. And tell me they want an A in the class.
The problem, which they don’t seem to realize, is that I have set out standards to which everyone needs to adhere to pass the class. Everyone has to contract for a grade, so it is abundantly clear what’s expected from them at the very beginning. If I let the standards slip for them, then I can get called on favoritism. On the other hand, the assignments are relatively easy that I don’t understand why they don’t just do them and turn them in. What’s wrong with having an easy class now and again? Some of these students put more effort into getting out of the assignments than they would if they actually just sat down and did them.
To some extent, I can understand it. There’s this notion that freshman need this class to succeed. If they’ve survived for two years already, it’s not unrealistic to think they don’t need the class. But someone puts them in there, and they claim they can’t get out. This leaves me stuck with treating them like trained monkeys, and I can understand the resentment. It does seem like it makes a little bit more sense to have transfers take it, but they don’t resent it any less.
I think the real problem is that they just don’t want to be there, and I’m the only person handy as a target for their frustration.