Wednesday, October 26, 2011

in which I earn a Strongbow

Yesterday's outfit:

dress: thrifted
necklace and belt: via my mum
cardigan, bracelet, headband: JCrew
socks: Target
shoes: Urban Outfitters

Yesterday's highlight was the absurd moment when my students in the afternoon section clamored for more information on Jacques Derrida, of all people! In Eating Animals, JSF quotes Derrida when discussing the feeling of shame in front of animals; Derrida says that we are naked in front of animals in our shame. So at the end of class, despite my assurances that Derrida is a figure widely considered even by the most intellectual of intellectuals as inaccessible, a handful of students wanted to know more about him. So I broke out Of Grammatology last night for some light bedtime reading after I got off of the phone with R.

I forgot how much I kind of really love deconstruction.

But, then, today happened.

I woke up at 7:30 and checked my email on my phone as I was still coming to grips with consciousness. A student had emailed me about his grade on the speeches from last week. He had come to my office hours during the day on Tuesday, believing that I graded the 20 points of Presentation too harshly; I explained to him that anyone who went overtime was immediately docked 10 points, and that in addition to his speaking for too long, he had read rather than delivered his speech. Though clearly disappointed, he departed from office hours seemingly having gotten the point

But, this email. Epic in length (at least, for a student), he outlined many reasons that he thought might make me reconsider changing his grade. Well, no. But what really truly bothered me was that he inferred that he had complained to someone in the Writing Center, who had then agreed with him that I was wrong, and who then contacted "people" in the Rhetoric department who then agreed that I had been too harsh.

Whose business is it in the Writing Center to tell my student that I was wrong? And to then go behind my back and tattletale to someone in the Rhetoric department? It was unclear as to who had been contacted; it could have just been this tutor's Rhetoric TA friends, or it could have been a professor--even my boss. I was infuriated.

I already had a meeting with my teaching advisor planned for this morning, just as a mid-term check-in. You will be unsurprised to learn that our entire half hour was spent conferring about this student's complaints. The Assistant Director of the Writing Center popped in and spoke to us, and sided with me. My advisor sided with me. Then the gal who had been the tutor to speak with my student came in and tried to, I don't know, provide his perspective without sounding like she disagreed with me? She kept saying that he had seemed very upset--close to tears. And I'm thinking, seriously? How does she think that I felt when I woke up this morning to the feeling that in my first semester of teaching that I had been sold out because some kid couldn't handle getting an 83 on a speech? A B signifies "above average." For going over the time limit and reading a paper aloud rather than delivering a speech, he should have been glad to get anything above a 70 in the first place for not following directions.

So that was the beginning of my day.

dress: thrifted
tights: H&M, old
boots: Naturalizer, via JCPenney
belt: thrifted

I feel like I've earned a Strongbow. I popped down into the grocery store that I live on top of and bought one a couple of hours ago. I'm waiting for a good moment--such as, working on my Adrienne Rich essay momentarily--to drink it.


WAW said...

You definitely earned that Strongbow

meganeliza said...

I would have graded him the same way. You're absolutely right, and he's lucky it seems that you let him have index cards or anything to help deliver the speech. Some teachers make you hand in the index cards, and they can't have anymore then 10 works on it and no more than 3-4 index cards. I think you were correct, and if your teaching advisor agreed, you're fine. It's not your fault they can't take an 83; for me, it would be unacceptable, but I'm an actor.

Drink your Strongbow, and drink it good.

Robert said...

Cute dress! I see it now.