Bad grades October 6, 2011 3:19 PM   Subscribe

So, to this Askme, I posted this:
You do realize, don't you, I guess you even said it, that "'Analyze' something" is a horrible assignment. And though you said it, you still are looking for ways to get off the hook here. I know, I'm telling you things you've already said you don't need to hear, tough. 300 level, juniors, one step beyond sophomoric confidence (often that's a big step into a deep abyss), and you want creativity? Without reassurance? Really? Go in on Monday, or tomorrow if it's an MWF class and write a big "F" on the board - then tell them that's your grade. You still get off the hook in away you are trying to avoid letting them off, you don't have to make these asinine decisions, and the grade won't count against you the way it would them. Be honest with your kids (yeah, your and kids), it will make you a better teacher, and I've spent a lot of time on both sides of different level classrooms, and screwed up a ton too.
And it was deleted. I know he admitted that he made a mistake, and didn't want to hear about it, I don't like hearing about my mistakes either, but the asker won't admit the mistake to his own students, which is the real step he needs to take. Is the only allowed answers the ones that say, "Poor, baby, hears how you escape responsibility and screw your students that did their best"?
posted by Webnym to Etiquette/Policy at 3:19 PM (37 comments total)

Your answer didn't really address the question, which is pretty much the bar for AskMe comments. There's really no exception for tough love when it doesn't answer the actual question. (And the OP admitted to their flaws in the question, which makes your answer sound even more like off-topic hectoring.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:25 PM on October 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


And it was deleted.
And that's OK. Or would you prefer some "poor baby"-ing?
posted by Wolfdog at 3:25 PM on October 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


The asker was looking for advice on slogging through a stack of boring papers. Your response is decidedly not that.

Whenever you find yourself saying "the real step he needs to take" or "what he really needs to hear", your odds of getting a deletion are much higher.
posted by Think_Long at 3:25 PM on October 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Dude, if the OP had said "I don't understand how this assignment could possibly have gone wrong," your answer would have been harsh but on-topic. Since he said he got how he fucked up and was planning to address that, berating him doesn't answer his question. The point of asking mefi is to receive answers, not to offer up your hide so the mob can tear a piece off.
posted by Diablevert at 3:25 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The asker pretty specifically asked how to deal with the dull papers on the desk in front of them. Your answer didn't really address the question.
posted by lekvar at 3:25 PM on October 6, 2011


Is the only allowed answers the ones that say, "Poor, baby, hears how you escape responsibility and screw your students that did their best"?

The allowed answers are the ones that answer the question that is asked.

In this instance: What are your grading hacks for really, really boring papers... any tips for surviving the grading process when the papers are all basically the same?
posted by nathancaswell at 3:26 PM on October 6, 2011


Is the only allowed answers the ones that say, "Poor, baby, hears how you escape responsibility and screw your students that did their best"?

Nope, helpful answers that address the actual question are allowed also.
posted by Forktine at 3:26 PM on October 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't think the question really suggested he wasn't going to tell his students what went wrong, but he still needed to do the grading. Just because papers turn out dull doesn't mean they are worthless.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:26 PM on October 6, 2011


Metatalk: offer up your hide so the mob can tear a piece off.

Sorry, low hanging fruit
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:27 PM on October 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your answer is right below the box where you posted your question.

"Please limit comments to answers or help in finding an answer."


Though this does get confusing (not getting snarky, I'm serious), 'help' here does not mean helping the answerer in a general sense. It's about helping answer the question. "How do I help my students or become a better professor", while certainly a worthwhile question, is not the one being asked.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:28 PM on October 6, 2011


I know he admitted that he made a mistake

Since he said he got how he fucked up and was planning to address that, berating him doesn't answer his question.

How does everyone know the OP is male? In fact, the OP has a husband, so the OP is probably female.
posted by John Cohen at 3:28 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is committing to grading the papers escaping responsibility? Truly escaping responsibility would be to lie and say you lost them, and everyone gets an A.
posted by bleep at 3:29 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's also worth making clear that the answer got deleted because it violated the guidelines - it had nothing to do with whether the OP "didn't want to hear about it" or not. The OP wasn't even one of the people who flagged it.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:30 PM on October 6, 2011


Is the only allowed answers the ones that say, "Poor, baby, hears how you escape responsibility and screw your students that did their best"?

No. However, people must answer the question. There is always a wide range of acceptable possible answers, even ones that are critical of the person asking the question. But comments must answer the question, they should be constructive and they need to not just go after the person asking the question because they pushed one of your buttons.

It's really difficult to see people living their lives in ways that go against whatever our personal values are and even more irritating [for those of us who are irritable] when they ask us for help or advice after they possibly screwed something up. In this case, the OP is crystal clear that they made a mistake, so answers that basically rub their nose in that serve no useful purpose and it's pretty much our job as AskMe answerers to be helpful or to move on.

And yeah pretty sure the OP is female for what it's worth.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:30 PM on October 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


You have obviously never taught a class. The papers need to be graded, because otherwise the poster will be hearing complaints from the grade-grubbing students all semester, and the lazy ones will be pissed they did any work "for nothing."
posted by Dr.Enormous at 3:32 PM on October 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


You do realize, don't you, I guess you even said it, that "'You do realize, don't you..." is a horrible assignment answer.
posted by desjardins at 3:36 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


So your answer was to blow the class off? Great way to instil confidence in his teaching abilities.
posted by Splunge at 3:36 PM on October 6, 2011


In order for MeTa to remain effective, threads need to not become pile-ons. It might be better to model good behavior at this juncture.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:39 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Poor baby. You do realize, don't you, that your response was such a bag of shit that it doesn't deserve to be called an answer? Tough.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:41 PM on October 6, 2011


Oh, timing.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:41 PM on October 6, 2011 [22 favorites]


Sorry.
posted by Splunge at 3:42 PM on October 6, 2011


Hugs.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:42 PM on October 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


::sigh:: ;D
posted by Splunge at 3:43 PM on October 6, 2011


It might be better to model good behavior at this juncture.

That's pretty vague. How can we be expected to model "good behavior" without more detail... Oh, wait. Guess I get a big "F". Maybe even a "U".
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:48 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dr.Enormous: "You have obviously never taught a class. The papers need to be graded, because otherwise the poster will be hearing complaints from the grade-grubbing students all semester, and the lazy ones will be pissed they did any work "for nothing.""

I have taught many, many, many classes from preschool to upper division college (though I skipped from preschool to seventh grade). I have never seen a situation where honesty in this situation has not made me a better teacher, nor have I seen one where it has not made the whole class better students. It shows you care, and that matters more than the rest of your image. If you don't know that, think about how you relate to those who depend on you for learning.

And Jessamyn, I really do think I was answering the question that was asked, she (or he, I don't see how that matter at all, at all) could grade the papers or not, but knowing the hapless students were not going to be punished for the mistake of someone else, would make that much easier. And as for the students that would think themselves 'cheated' for their efforts, that's another teaching moment, isn't it.

I don't expect to win this argument, but there is no one trying to show me an advantage, beyond the teacher image, to not fessing up and voiding the asignment.

(And, yeah, wolfdog, that's all I'm ever about, you are soooo insightful.)
posted by Webnym at 3:50 PM on October 6, 2011


Here's a bridge, get over it.
posted by Elmore at 3:54 PM on October 6, 2011


Seriously, the question was "What are your grading hacks for really, really boring papers?" I do not see that question being answered in your comment.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:54 PM on October 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


No one has to show you anything, the mods are just explaining to you why your question got deleted. Politely.
posted by bquarters at 3:55 PM on October 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dude. We're not trying to tell you that it's a horrible idea for her to think about how to become a better teacher, we're telling you why your answer got deleted.

It didn't answer the question, full stop.
posted by Specklet at 3:55 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems fair to pile on the students though - amirite ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:56 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I may be totally off base here, but why not make it pass/fail and pass everyone? And explain that the wording of the assignment was too vague?
posted by Splunge at 3:58 PM on October 6, 2011


Even if it had answered the question, i still would have flagged it. "Write an F for yourself on the board?" Really?? Good answers shouldn't be the condiments on a shit sandwich of shaming the Asker.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:58 PM on October 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


In order for MeTa to remain effective, threads need to not become pile-ons.

At what point does the thread become a pile-on? Now that the original poster has responded, seemingly missing the point that his answer did not address the question, is the clock reset and it is OK to say this to him again?

Good answers shouldn't be the condiments on a shit sandwich of shaming the Asker.

There's way too much shaming the Asker in AskMe, in my opinion.
posted by grouse at 3:59 PM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure about this shit sandwich, but goddamn that is delicious relish.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:00 PM on October 6, 2011


I don't expect to win this argument, but there is no one trying to show me an advantage, beyond the teacher image, to not fessing up and voiding the asignment.

No one besides you is even interested in having this argument. For whatever little it's worth I agree that whether or not to scrap the assignment might be a good and interesting question of pedagogy in the abstract, and even one that it might be interesting to have a MeFi discussion about some other time — but seriously, neither that AskMe nor this MeTa thread is a good or appropriate forum for it.
posted by RogerB at 4:00 PM on October 6, 2011


For whatever reason the OP closed their account so I'm going to close up this MeTa.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:05 PM on October 6, 2011


I have never seen a situation where honesty in this situation has not made me a better teacher, nor have I seen one where it has not made the whole class better students. It shows you care, and that matters more than the rest of your image. If you don't know that, think about how you relate to those who depend on you for learning.

And Jessamyn, I really do think I was answering the question that was asked, she (or he, I don't see how that matter at all, at all) could grade the papers or not, but knowing the hapless students were not going to be punished for the mistake of someone else, would make that much easier. And as for the students that would think themselves 'cheated' for their efforts, that's another teaching moment, isn't it.


If I did what you recommended, I would confuse and anger my students. Then my students would take the matter to my department chair and complain that they did work that I decided not to grade.

Maybe you're bringing assumptions to this question that are at odds with the OP or with the experiences of others here. Test questions that ask students to analyze something are standard in a lot of fields, including my own.

I don't know the origins of "teachable moment," but your ideas sound self-indulgent. Midterm season is not the time for dramatic gestures. Students would walk away creeped out and warn their friends you're a nut.

One thing students learn in college muddling through poorly-written exam questions. It's not the worst thing in the world.
posted by vincele at 4:06 PM on October 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


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