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Author Topic: "favorite" student e-mails  (Read 4236437 times)
dr_know
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« Reply #22005 on: December 05, 2012, 2:25:06 AM »

The topic is of the simplest nature and requires no critical or intellectual thought to complete. I took this class to be challenged to write more in depth and learn to think in different ways to create carefully detailed pieces of writing, not mindless read and respond papers.

Dear Moron,

Your e-mail is of the simplest nature and requires no critical or intellectual thought to decipher.  I took this job to be challenged to teach more in depth and learn to help different students create carefully detailed pieces of writing, not listen to nor read e-mails from mindless "students" who can't even complete a little 4-page argument essay.

Professor I'm So Glad I'm Not Your Mama
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pedanterast
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« Reply #22006 on: December 05, 2012, 3:09:41 AM »

Yes, missemily, that is one fantastic email.  I would need to step away from the computer for a while before responding. 

These are the kinds of students that can't figure out why they didn't get promoted or even got fired from their first job. 

No question was asked, so no response is indicated.
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melba_frilkins
Doing laundry.
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« Reply #22007 on: December 05, 2012, 3:34:32 AM »

Dear Emily's Student,

I have taken the liberty to forward your email to the makers of the DSM. They have been threatening to remove Narcissistic Personality Disorder from the books. I would like them to see that such a thing still exists. Alive and well. Thank you very much.
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mended_drum
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« Reply #22008 on: December 05, 2012, 7:26:33 AM »

"Dear Emily's Student,

I'm afraid that you have misunderstood the nature of argument or the purpose of expository writing.  That's unfortunate.  I am, however, more concerned about the tone of your message, which is not appropriate for communications with a professor, as well as the anxiety and disdain for academic work that it conveys.  I have, therefore, forwarded it to your academic advisor and the Dean of Students, both of whom can assist you with the stress you seem to be feeling as well as review the appropriate ways to communicate respectfully with professors."

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grasshopper
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Grade Despot


« Reply #22009 on: December 05, 2012, 7:52:40 AM »

Miss Emily, the problem with people who don't realize what they don't know is that you can't explain to them that they don't know stuff, because they don't recognize what all that they're unaware of.

I would be tempted to allow this student to write a different essay, researching the relationship between the act of writing and the development of critical thinking skills. Set some pretty narrow guidelines, like research in greater depth at least two of the claims he uses to argue against the necessity of writing this paper. Required number of sources, minimum/maximum page length, the whole nine yards. Stress that "college-level" research requires some semblance of a lit review, in which students identify the key positions of an argument, and are able to articulate each of these positions before situating themselves in one or another camp, so he can't just write another op-ed piece. So maybe he has to identify three different schools of thought on this topic, and justify why he positions himself in one of these. It'd be a similar exercise as the one you've given, except he'd have to do the research himself. Hell, I'd even give him an extension to complete this. 

Let him do the work of figuring out why he's talking out of his ass.
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marigolds
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« Reply #22010 on: December 05, 2012, 8:41:13 AM »

Grassy, this idea is a good one in terms of teaching moments, but it also is making a ton more work for missemily; why reward his spoiled-brat behavior in that way?  If he doesn't even trust his professors enough to try to do the things they've designed to help him learn, even if they are not what *he* thinks he needs, then he needs a pretty sharp knot jerked in his tail.

I would probably send Mended's email, depending on the culture where you teach. 
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big_giant_head
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« Reply #22011 on: December 05, 2012, 9:21:29 AM »

With respect to the color-coding of paragraphs, our Academic Achievement Center teaches that method.  It is a K-12 tool, but it actually does work sometimes. Consider who these students are: they are taking classes two or three levels below Comp I, but they are adults. There has clearly been a major failure of teaching and learning in their pasts. The color-coding (one color for topic sentence, another for a main example, a third for support of the example, etc.) helps them to visualize something that most of the rest of us have never had to think about consciously. 

It would be an insult to the typical Comp I student, but at least at my CC, these are students who may or may not ever qualify to take Comp I. 
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grasshopper
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« Reply #22012 on: December 05, 2012, 9:29:14 AM »

it also is making a ton more work for missemily
It doesn't have to - maybe grading the paper a little later than the others. Otherwise, there's not much difference. Shift the topic and add a few research requirements to the assignment guidelines, and Miss Emily is good to go. She doesn't have to bone up on the research herself to grade the student's ability to make good on his self-proclaimed smartitude.

The little upstart thinks the course is beneath him. Fine. Prove it. Convince me.


With respect to the color-coding of paragraphs, our Academic Achievement Center teaches that method.  It is a K-12 tool, but it actually does work sometimes. Consider who these students are: they are taking classes two or three levels below Comp I, but they are adults. There has clearly been a major failure of teaching and learning in their pasts. The color-coding (one color for topic sentence, another for a main example, a third for support of the example, etc.) helps them to visualize something that most of the rest of us have never had to think about consciously. 
Yes, it's a way of mapping the structure of the paper's argument, so the students don't get lost in their own words.
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kaysixteen
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« Reply #22013 on: December 05, 2012, 9:43:31 AM »

Dear Miss Emily's Student:

So how many words do you think are in Col. Sanders' secret recipe, anyhow?
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cajunmama
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« Reply #22014 on: December 05, 2012, 11:35:39 AM »

Yes, missemily, that is one fantastic email.  I would need to step away from the computer for a while before responding. 

These are the kinds of students that can't figure out why they didn't get promoted or even got fired from their first job. 

No question was asked, so no response is indicated.

I second this. No question asked, no response required.
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marigolds
looks far too young to be a
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« Reply #22015 on: December 05, 2012, 11:36:30 AM »

it also is making a ton more work for missemily
It doesn't have to - maybe grading the paper a little later than the others. Otherwise, there's not much difference. Shift the topic and add a few research requirements to the assignment guidelines, and Miss Emily is good to go. She doesn't have to bone up on the research herself to grade the student's ability to make good on his self-proclaimed smartitude.

The little upstart thinks the course is beneath him. Fine. Prove it. Convince me.

True, maybe not a lot more work. And I get you on the "don't know what they don't know" stuff.  But they have to be ready to consider that they don't know everything already to even figure out what it is that they don't know; I think changing the paper assignment just for him is accommodating his recalcitrance and superiority complex.  She doesn't have anything to prove to him; if he doesn't want to learn, he can come back when he does, and until then quietly take his zero.  

I've been thinking a lot about consequences and "teaching" vs "learning" and where the motivation and agency in that relationship should come from lately, and this seems to me to fall on the "protecting him from himself" side of things in a way that would ultimately be less helpful than a bump on the head from running into a brick wall.

But that's probably my own recent obsession with *not* turning Sprout into a snowflake talking. What do I know?
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cgfunmathguy
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« Reply #22016 on: December 05, 2012, 11:49:28 AM »

Marigolds, I get your point exactly. I would agree with Grassy's approach if it was earlier in the semester, but at this late date, I'd give him a zero, too. Five weeks ago, I'd probably take Grassy's approach to prove the point and further his education in one giant leap, but the time for that is past. He can take the zero and repeat the course.

I can't care more than they do. I can't care more than they do. I can't care...
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slinger
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« Reply #22017 on: December 05, 2012, 11:59:52 AM »

Besides, he probably wouldn't do the work anyway, or fail spectacularly.
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grasshopper
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Grade Despot


« Reply #22018 on: December 05, 2012, 12:03:19 PM »

I've been thinking a lot about consequences and "teaching" vs "learning" and where the motivation and agency in that relationship should come from lately, and this seems to me to fall on the "protecting him from himself" side of things in a way that would ultimately be less helpful than a bump on the head from running into a brick wall.
Ha ha! See, you're a better person than I am. I just thought it would be a way to show him how monumentally stupid his email was, without having to actually say it. If he were to learn anything else from the exercise, power to him.
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cgfunmathguy
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« Reply #22019 on: December 05, 2012, 12:19:59 PM »

I've been thinking a lot about consequences and "teaching" vs "learning" and where the motivation and agency in that relationship should come from lately, and this seems to me to fall on the "protecting him from himself" side of things in a way that would ultimately be less helpful than a bump on the head from running into a brick wall.
Ha ha! See, you're a better person than I am. I just thought it would be a way to show him how monumentally stupid his email was, without having to actually say it. If he were to learn anything else from the exercise, power to him.
I like "instructor-imposed" wake-up calls, whether it's through Grassy's approach ("Let's show him how stupid he really is") or Marigold's ("Let's fail him this time and hope he's better prepared to participate next time"). From personal experience, it seems like they learn more through the Grassy method, but that may just be me. We're in final week here, and thus, I'd just fail him at this point and let him start over next semester.
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