Saturday, March 13, 2010

The greatest student e-mail ever sent?

I would like to first express my respect for you and every other teacher that has placed their energy into educating me and my peers, as we all know that teachers are often the unappreciated foundation of our future. However, I must express a slight amount of disrespect, as I do not agree with your perception of my paper one bit.
The mild opening of what Chauncey DeVega calls the greatest student e-mail ever sent.

A related post
How to e-mail a professor

comments: 3

Matt Thomas said...

Argh! I try to preempt this sort of thing by sharing this with my students:

"College grades often represent a judgment made by a professor, rather than an objective measure. Judgment is important! It can always be challenged, but it rests on experience and on certified knowledge … and generally should be sustained unless the professor made an obvious mistake – skipped a page, added wrong, something like that. Mistakes happen, and can be appealed. Judgment is human, and all judgments have a 'buck stops here' location. In law, it's the Supreme Court. In universities, it's usually with the professor unless there's clear evidence of misconduct, and that's how it should be.

"And if you're still a student: don't waste your time appealing grades that represent a considered judgment (naturally, you should appeal mistakes and injustices). Instead, learn and do better next time."

Good advice, don't you think?

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, it is. One problem with all of it though is that standards of judgment can differ greatly. For many students coming from twelfth grade to college, or from community college to a four-year school, the standards are far different from what they expect. So it’s the instructor who seems unreasonable.

But it’s a great life if you don’t weaken. : )

Elaine said...

Well, I did once have a grad school professor who apparently dropped my test papers, reassembled them, then graded it 'as is' ... without ever noticing that the pages were out of order. He also refused to reevaluate it. With plenty of time in the semester, I just took the route of acing the rest of the course...but I do have a small voodoo doll in my sewing room, where the long pins are.

JUST kidding! but only about the doll.

One of my Freshman English teachers graced my first paper with a big red D, and believe me, it shocked my socks off. I had made at best a mediocre effort (because the topic bored me silly,) and I am sure the D was generous, or perhaps reflected the fact that everything was correctly spelled and punctuated. It now occurs to me that it may be a rare student who admits he got what was deserved. That was long ago. I cleaned up my act.