A Mid Semester Report (of a Sort) for Spring, 2009

A quickie: Not one student has whined nor snarled nor pleaded that he or she can’t or won’t do assignments because:

  • the assignments interfere with his/her internship.
  • the assignments interfere with his/her job.
  • h/s doesn’t want to do them.

Last semester, I had two reprobates. Pure passive-aggressive. The one in my basic reporting class didn’t offer lame excuses, she just wouldn’t turn in assignments nor follow guidelines. The one in my feature writing indulged in lame excuses, such as, Quote Marks for Affect, “I was out drinking with a friend all night, so …” or “Kid puked, so I’m not coming to class” or “I had to go to Albany with this friend.”

However, this semester in all my classes there was an early “surge” of guideline violations and expectations that I would ignore the transgressions. Or they no-showed the day a class assignment was due and then tried to turn in the late assignment at a subsequent class. Nope, I told them. Read the rules, I reminded them.

By now, of course, after teaching several years at Hunter, I’m accustomed to this kind of infantile behavior and know that the early weeks I will be engaging in the Dance of Sticks and Carrots, applying enough of a stick to get them their attention and make them realize that there will consequences to any breaching of the rules yet enough of a carrot to not stanch their willingness to learn.

Now, anyone reading this should know this: Students are responsible for their actions but are pretty much influenced by colleagues to engage in this kind of insipid behavior. As I tell anyone who will listen or even if they don’t want to listen, that, regarding students here at this campus, I get gems and diamonds in the rough but I also have to deal with the 30-40P and hope I can make a dent in it. Thus, there almost always has to be a wrestling match early on, and I blame colleagues for nurturing academic mediocrity. Which brings me to this: It appears that two of the 4 Barnacles of the Apocalypse are no longer on the Department’s Grade Appeals Committee.

Very interesting at this point in the semester.

And I’m beginning to believe the English department should scrap the creative writing classes.

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