Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Public Service Announcement

I am not in the mood.

No. I am exhausted and very nearly at the end of my tether. I have been having dizzy spells; have almost passed out for the first, second, and third times in my life during the last month and a half; and generally am crankier than a nest full of hornets in a blender.

So let me just explain something as patiently as I can to a certain subsection of the undergraduate population.

When you respond to your instructor's comments during your paper conference--which she scheduled on a weekend to fit your schedule--silently and sullenly, arms akimbo, finally saying, "Well, I guess you've just about covered everything" because you're pissed off that you're not being told your draft is already perfect? And when your final version subsequently does little to address the points she brought up? And when you have blatantly ignored her repeated, in-class explanations of why it is important to include a title befitting an analytical paper, MLA-style citation, and Works Cited pages? And when those discussions have included explicit instructions on how to produce those items? And when she has, furthermore, explained from the first day of class that said features are indeed part of the grading criteria for the class, including them in the policy packet and discussing them at some length?

And you get a pretty damn decent grade anyway?

Please do not come to talk to her by special appointment at the end of an already long day and complain that you were really disappointed not to get an A and that you really think you should have gotten one because she didn't explicitly remind you during your conference that you needed to include an appropriate title and a citation system.

Especially do not persist in being openly pissy when she explains that, while such technical issues were indeed part of the grading process, they were not the basis for the grade and that the major issues which earned you less than an A were indeed the ones she discussed with you during office hours. For the love of reason, do not then try to argue--incorrectly--that your instructor must be wrong, because you think you remember, even though you forgot to bring your commented-upon paper with you, that she didn't really say anything about argumentative or organizational problems in her feedback document.

Be aware, please, that your instructor was being generous in giving you a decent grade, despite your having ignored her directions. Be aware that she may not be inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt the next time around.

If your employer had spent a good deal of her time telling you precisely what the format was for a report you owed her and you then did not produce the report according to instructions, would you expect your boss to tell you it was flawless? Would you actually try to lay the blame for your performance on your boss by saying that her having told you and your colleagues three or four times what she expected wasn't direct enough?

I certainly hope you would not. Because, if you did, you'd be unlikely to keep that job for very long. And for a very good reason, too: you'd be acting like a spoiled brat.

The cold, hard truth, my sweets, is that you should not expect to get A's in classes in which your work performances and your behavior are less than professional.