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You Should Drop My Class (or Do You Really Think You Have a Shot at Earning a Decent Grade?)

I’m writing this post on the last day for students to withdraw from a class without an academic penalty. Earlier this week I sent an e-mail to all of my students with a list of reasons they may want to withdraw. Here’s the message I sent:

Hi everyone, The last day to drop a class without academic penalty is Friday. Remember, a W (withdrawal) doesn’t hurt your GPA, but a D or F … and sometimes a C … will hurt your GPA. Here are some reasons you may want to consider dropping your English class with me:

• If you’ve missed a week or more worth of classes (that’s three), it’s most likely going to negatively affect your grade. If you’ve missed two weeks or more, I recommend dropping because it will be very hard for you to get above a 70 for the semester. See the syllabus for the attendance policy. A common mistake is that people think because I don’t always take attendance that attendance isn’t important. It actually is and you’re actually graded on it in a number of ways. Most people are surprised when they lose so many points on their final grade because of their quiz (or “everything else”) average.

• If you haven’t started any of your major essays, you will probably not receive very high marks on at least one (probably more) of them. You should consider dropping because all of these are worth so much of your final grade.

• If you never pay attention in class and spend the time talking, texting, and/or tweeting, or you’ve never been present for one of your grammar schmammar presentations or your “lead the discussion” day. If you don’t want to be in college, consider dropping this class (and probably all of them).

• If you fall into one or more of these categories, but you don’t think I’m talking about you, I assure you that I am; you should consider dropping.

IS

I should say that I have the ability to drop students from my class, but I have reservations about doing that. I believe students are responsible for their own learning, and I’m not a baby sitter; therefore, they should drop themselves if they fear they will earn an inadequate grade. The problem is, today’s the last day to withdraw, and I haven’t seen some of these students in months. And they didn’t withdraw. I’ve had only three withdrawals this semester. I guess I’ll have to give out some D’s and F’s in a few weeks.

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