Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A New Pet Peeve

One of the things I dislike most about teaching is grading. I like giving feedback and helping make people better speakers. I dislike having to put a grade on it. Still, this is part of the job so I do it. Sometimes my students like my grades, sometimes they don’t. Truth is most of the time the get at least a B-, as long as the student gets up in front of the class, tries, and delivers the speech when s/he is supposed to speak. That does not mean students always like the grade. I tell my students I will always listen if they have a disagreement, I may not agree, I many not change the grade, but I will always listen.

Today in class, some students started complaining about grades they received. I told them that I would gladly talk to any of them, one-on-one, after class, but it was not going to turn into an “attack” session at the current time.

I deliberately wrapped up class 15-20 minutes early so anyone who wanted to discuss the grade could do so. Sometimes students are running from one class to another, or I need to run, and it is not feasible to talk with everyone after class who wishes to talk with me. This way, I figured no one has anything to do for at least 15 minutes, the next class on campus does not start for another 25 minutes, they could approach me.

Would you care to guess how many students came up to me? That’s right, Zero, none, nada, not one! In other words, as long as there are a bunch of students together, they are willing to “take me on” but the minute I set the ground rules, tell them it will be one-to-one, no one has the guts to talk with me. I talk this as a personal insult. I pride myself on making myself available to my students, regardless of what I need to do, yet no one will discuss this, they would rather bitch, complain and work in groups.

At this point, if someone approaches me about the grade received on this speech, I do not think I will be available. It is really the first time I have even felt like I am not willing to listen to concerns (or even gripes) of the students.

I know it has been a while since I have posted. I have just been swamped and a little overwhelmed. I have wanted to post for awhile and today I just needed to vent. Hopefully this will resume the flow of consistent posting.