So I got a rather strange email from a parent yesterday, but one of the problems of blogging under my own name is that I can’t quite go into specifics about things like this. But the point is, it made me wonder what the parent could possibly have been thinking to send the email.
With that said, what’s clear from reading the blogosphere is that teachers put up with a lot of strange requests. My favorite place for reading that sort of stuff is on Learning Curves… which aperiodically posts the warped way his college students think about school and grading and fairness.
Which reminded me of being a Teaching Assistant for a number of history courses at UCLA.
I too had a lot of strange requests and goings on… so I comisserate.
An email I sent a student:
- I am your TA for History 3B. I noticed that you turned in your midterm essay for the class. However you have not attended any of the discussion sections, nor have you turned in any of the weekly reader responses. If you are still planning on taking this class, I think you, me, and Prof. [Professor] need to have a meeting. (I can’t see you passing the course without attending section.)
The students response started
- I see I’ve been caught. I’m not sure how to respond.
Emphasis mine. That’s one of my favorites.
Another one of my favorites (I have a million of them):
- I just wanted to ask you a few questions concerning my grade. How far was I from getting a B-, I received a C+ in the course? I would like to mention that I had to take two finals back to back the day of the final. I would also like to mention that I had spent the majority of tenth week and half of my finals week working on a project for my aircraft design class. It was a group project that entailed the design of an aircraft, a presentation, and the review of another group’s project. Like all of the groups in that class, we didnt get our work done until the last minute. As a result, I only had 1 and a half days to get ready for two finals. I was very stressed out those last few days of finals week with all the work I had to cover. I only ask that you please take this into consideration.
If these sorts of things were isolated cases, that’s one thing. But these emails aren’t. And that makes me wonder what they are thinking when they send an email like this, just like I wondered what that parent was thinking. What they think education is, college is, grades are… Because clearly they live in a world totally different than the world I inhabit.
Conclusion: I’m so happy to be teaching high school students.
And here I thought I’d want to become a professor someday. Screw that.