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, April 4, 2008

Read The Comments

A student approached me after class today to complain about a grade he got on his last speech. The grade was a ‘B+’ and he told me he was disappointed because he thought he did very well on the speech. Silly me, I thought a ‘B+’ was a good grade but I now know better.

The student told me he thought his demonstration speech dealt with a topic that was more serious than the topics picked by most of the other students and he felt his grade should have reflected that.

“Okay,” I said, “Certainly the topic should play a part in what grade you get.” Then I asked, “What did I say in my critique? What comments did I make about how the speech could have been improved?”

“I don’t know,” was the response. “I only looked at the grade and got frustrated”.

Folks, if you are going to argue a grade with a teacher, at least read the comments s/he puts on your assignment. I realize some teachers just slap a grade on an assignment and do not write any comments. This would be much easier for me to do and would take a lot less time. I feel, however, that students are entitled to my thoughts and opinions, this is what I am getting paid to do. If you are going to challenge a grade, know why the instructor claims you got that grade so you know what you are challenging.

I have long felt what I would like to do when I critique a speech is to write my comments, without putting a grade on it. Upon handing it back to the students, tell them they have to comment on my comments, what they agree with and what they disagree with and hand it back to me. Only when I get it back will I put a grade on the assignment and let them know what they got. Unfortunately, that would truly require the students and the instructor (me) to put in more time than I feel should be used. Still, it is nice to think about doing.

I guess for now, I just have to tolerate those students complaining about grades even if they don’t read all my comments.