Saturday, January 07, 2006

grading me

So I'm deep into my masters program. Postsecondary, Adult and Continuing Education.

Was an interesting journey getting here. Always a B (and C to be honest) student, I finally went in for more school after years of gentle needling from pop. It also didn't hurt that I found something I really wanted to do and had little knowledge background in it.

Thank heavens a no one seems to care much that undergrad schooling was in something other than "education". I guess I'd be screwed if the discipline needed anything like hard science or math. But then if I ever want to teach people about math, c'est la to me!

This time around I wanted to prove to myself that I could be a committed, excellent student. I'm sort of like the annoying non-trad older person in every class that kept raising a hand and dragging the discussion on and on, spoiling whatever sleep I was trying to catch up on as an undergrad.

Well, I've been pretty successful. Seven straight A's as some sort of objective measure that I'm good enough, bright enough and...well, maybe not all that liked.

I am told it doesn't really matter, 'cause in grad school the standards are a bit different. I guess that means A's are handed out less miserly.

But it mattered to me. Hey, a perfect record is something. And even if I don't get extra honors for it, it would be nice to walk with that perfect record intact.

It was not to be.

Got an A- in Statistics. It would have to be the math class! *rolls eyes* That bothered me to no end, because I knew I could have kept the streak alive had the teacher done his job a little better. That's what I was thinking. There may be some defect in my own skull that contributed, but I bled and suffered to get through that class and I know it didn't have to be as hard as it turned out.

I am a teacher. And this other teacher was cutting corners. phoning it in. I wonder if he stopped to think that everyone in this class was a teacher. That should be pressure to bring your best stuff. Should be, but evidently wasn't.

You learn new stuff in grad school every day. I learned there that some 'teachers' are really just research specialists who are forced to torture themselves AND students by spending some minimum level of time in a classroom f-ing up peoples' best efforts to learn something.

Why this is so, I do not know. It must have something to so with credentialing or dust-jackets on books. I dunno, maybe the research was being performed on us.

As you can see, I haven't really accepted those events and gotten past them. My mantra is supposed to be "just get through, just get through, just earn your degree and get away from these people..."

But it's a compromised notion that I shouldn't allow myself to care and be bothered by it. When that stops bothering me, what will I have learned from it? How will I have used that experience to benefit my own students?


So I got another less-than-perfect grade the other day. Was on a final paper I had to mail away to be graded by someone in another state who had nothing to do with the workshop I took or the instruction I received. Seemed like the criteria I was writing by were not the criteria it was being graded by.

I survived with a B. Any ugly B. B for (B)ottom acceptable performance in grad school.

Once more I found myself wondering, 'Why do they do this???' I am here. I am ready to do the best work they ever saw. I am motivated to read more, learn more, add to- not just get through.

What bugs me about me this time is it doesn't hurt as much and it's a little easier to look at all the ways it happened and shrug off the inequity.

I guess I'm getting better at caring less.

Knowing myself, this is a big warning sign because I am naturally lazy. If the level of resistance grows, I'll start rationalizing that B's are okay. I can work a little less hard and still get by, right? Heey, I got eight A's. If I coast the rest of the way I'm still gonna end with a 3.5 or better. That's not bad for kid with a 2.7 history!


I can see this is going to be a problem if I don't turn it around. I just looked at the Google PageRank for my own blog and it registered a 7/10. Seven out of ten. Not even 80%. Sub-B territory. Google rates me a "C-".

I looked at that and thought, 'Cool! I'm ranked.'

My standards must be slipping. I suck. :?)


At 7:43 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Yikes, I thought that grad school was supposed to be harder! I have gotten two A-s I think thus far. *sigh* A B is Bottom? I guess I am still thinking in Hillsdale terms where a "C" represented "average" and an "A" reprenented "yeah, ok, like we're gonna give you an A here." I still managed a few.

Anyhow, I think that in grad school the great thing is that the adult learners genuinely WANT to be there. That makes for an interesting class.'

I am signed up for 8 credits this semester and am already begining to have that reoccuring dream again- the one where someone realized that I never passed high school math and never really graduated, so I have to go back for a passing grade. *shivers*

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

It is harder than I’ve ever worked in the past, but that’s mostly a product of me pushing myself. I hope the cynicism at my Uni isn’t warranted at Hood. Not all places and all profs are complicit in what I am going through. Heh- I have two profs I love. I am latched on to them with a death grip.

It’s been explained to me that B is minimum acceptable grade for grad credit. C work gets handed back and they ask for it to be re-done. But again that may be only my Uni and not yours.


*nod nod* Wanting to be there makes all the difference! We aren’t all that old, you and I, but I reckon it would feel fair strange to be sitting in a class with lotsa undergrads. They look so impossibly young! Were we ever that small and bouncy and noisy and smooth-skinned? ;?)


Congrats on your “A” successes thus far. Don’t let any of my ramblings cast any possible dispersion on that work. We earned them! :?) At an 8-credit pace, you will be walking before I will. I am taking them one at a time to try to be any sort of present father. –sigh- It is slow death to be pecking and pecking away at it like I am.

What a rotten dream to have!!! Did you pass? :?)

Confession: I staggered through college algebra with a D–minus. I have always wondered if someone was going to come knocking in the night and revoke my Bach.

“Do you expect me to go back and re-take it?”

“No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!”

I may have mentioned my righteous stands (in the New Year’s list). Well, I took a stand against being compelled to buy a $200.00 graphing calculator to use in the class (in addition to the book!).

So I slogged my way through on principle and failed gloriously (or barely not-failed gloriously) as I tried to match the calculator’s computing power with my own spongiform-riddled mind.

At 11:56 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

correction: don't let me cast...aspersions.

What would casting a dispersion look like? Tossing seed to pidgeons? :?p


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