or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Working and Student Parents › Were my professor's words in regard to child birth stories cruel and demeaning?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Were my professor's words in regard to child birth stories cruel and demeaning? - Page 4

post #61 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockStarMom View Post
I find it completely unfair to ban a topic AFTER the assignment has been written. I would keep a record of things like this and write a letter to the dean/department chair/etc. after the class is completed.
I'm so sorry your birth story wasn't given the respect it deserves. Your story is sacred. I shared my birth story in my writing class, and I know what a big deal it is to share something so personal. I really loved reading your story and I'm so sorry you got the response you did.
I admire your academic goal to strive for only A's; most people don't have that drive. And I also never submit my final paper first--I have much more success with just getting everything on paper and getting the teacher's feedback before proceeding to perfect it. It sounds like you're excelling in school so your system is working for you!
The problem with birth stroies are that it is hard to find the emotional distence from the topic necessary to make the essay interesting to a reader (same with narratives about mothers -I strongly encourage students not to write about their moms). The teacher in this case could either work with the student in revision to try to get the paper where it needed to be knowing that most likely the student wouldn't be able to revise such an emotional topic sufficiently to make it interesting to a reader and thus get a good grade, or she could ban the topic. Sounds like she her motives were good. Teachers do want their students to be sucessfull.

I would strongly advise you to put 100% into the first draft. Yes, if will have to be revise regardless, but your second draft will be better if your first draft was better. Students don't trust this, but I've seen it again and again.

on the other topic, I'm at a small private college now after years in big state schools. I am amazed at the bullying of professors (always the young female tenure track professors) that goes on here. One fabulous teacher is thinking about leaving academia altogether after a student wrote a letter to the dean about the grade she got. The expectation her is that students should be able to trade their tuition money for a good grade. At big state schools there is an expecation students should be able to trade hard work for a good grade (I worked really ahrd on this paper, why didn't I get an A?); I complained about it at the time, but i guess that was better.
post #62 of 84
Totally--well, sort of--off-topic.

You ever read Jane Smiley's Moo?
post #63 of 84
Mama41 as a former adjunct instructor what you have said in this thread is very real, at my last school I basically got to the point where I stopped giving real grades. It seemed like everytime I tried to give a student constructive cristcism of their work if they didn't like it they went to the powers that be and instead it was a strike against me. At my school the faculty eventually started to say f-it give em all good grades. I really did feel like students were customers and if I did not satisfy them it was my ass on the line.

Shay
post #64 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
Wrong. In the process of teaching yourself to write well, you will have learned the things that are the point of the class. If you have to tear down and rewrite, you will still know the things you learned while doing your best.

That, not the grade, is the point of the class.

If the problem is that you're heading off in the wrong direction, check the assignment more frequently and ask if you have questions. Stop and ask yourself: What am I supposed to be doing here? Am I sure? Where exactly does it say that?

I write for a living. I head off in wrong directions too. It's part of writing, and it's part of education. We do not achieve 100% efficiency, and it's a good thing too. Not only are the tangents interesting, but many of them have turned into new and quite lucrative projects. But when I'm under a very tight deadline, you can bet that I check, and recheck, and recheck the editor's instructions, and if I find I don't understand or I have a question, I call and ask. Right then.
I understand that. But-- and I know this is shocking-- I sometimes have to or choose to prioritize something else over my classes. I like school but I don't put it above my physical and mental health, nor that of my family.

Of course, when I drop the priority of school, I never, ever expect an A.

I haven't had to turn in a draft since my undergrad days, though. When I ask a professor to look at a draft now, it usually is just because I'm stuck so would fall under the category of "call and ask."

Interestingly, DH has the opposite problem. His dissertation committee was upset with him for being too complete and not leaving them enough room to maneuver (there is more to the story but it's not relevant to this discussion).
post #65 of 84
We're not allowed to hand in drafts, only outlines.

Mama41

I'd like to second slylives's comment, your posting gives a lot to think about
post #66 of 84
Ditto to Mama41. I am following this thread because I remember how much I hated that attitude when I was a mere undergrad tutor and I am still trying to comprehend how people can come in with such a sense of entitlement.
post #67 of 84
Thread Starter 
There have been many interesting points made here.

What I do not understand is the attitude that it is impossible for someone to earn an A be their own merit in any given class. I have never in my life gone into a classroom and began the year with an I am going to make a B or whetever I can earn mentality. I have never been given a grade in my school career and I would not want a high grade that i did not work hard to acheive. I have never argued with a teacher over my grades or vented my frustration to an instructor. I ask for help when needed, but mostly I stay in the shadows and seek help from tutors or friends who have similar background as my instructor.

Why is an A perceived as a given grade? Do only students who make B's, C's and D's learn anything in class?
post #68 of 84
No one's saying that students can't learn because they get As. They're saying that your attitude (and others posted here) suggests you have nothing to learn. You said you don't turn in your best work because you know you'll have to make changes as if your best work cannot possibly be improved. I also would hazard a guess (based on my observations and comments from friends who teach) that a lot of students want an A without working hard. They focus so much on the "A" that they don't take anything valuable from the class.
post #69 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
I'm not understanding the sequence of events here. You had a narrative assignment (what was that?) due Feb. 24 and the paper (the draft you posted here?) due Mar. 1. Are you saying that you subbed the draft of the paper before the Feb. 24 assignment (and both before Feb. 24)?

If so, then I think that changes the dynamic a bit. She may have intended to give the additional instruction but not expected anyone to turn the assignment in so early. She may have thought you didn't spend much time on it because you turned it in so early.

When my mother went back to school, she worked FT and was a single mom. She did most assignments well in advance just to keep up and in case sickness, overtime, or some other problem cropped up, but she always checked first to make sure that was okay. For some profs, it wasn't, but for others it was fine.
No, I turned in the assignment 9 days early. That was my mistake. I confused the dates of the assignment. Both assignments were turned in on time, just one 9 days before the actual due date. This instructor does not give any instruction. She points out what she wants changed on rough drafts and expects them to be rewritten. That is to be expected. She does not have any office hours nor a phone number listed. Again, I am fine with that. I have many friends and family that I email my assignments to when I have questions. We critique one another's work. I have no complaints about the professor's style or teaching and I could care less about her snarky attitude. What I found to be uncomfortable were her comments inregard to child birth stories after the announcement was made. She never made an addendum to the general assignment, but she felt the need to rant about birth stories and sports stories.


Any assignment may be submitted after the link is activated. It is impossible to sumbit an assignment until she activates the upload feature.

Sorry for the misspelling, I am in a rush. My time to be online is limited, even during spring break.
post #70 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
No one's saying that students can't learn because they get As. They're saying that your attitude (and others posted here) suggests you have nothing to learn. You said you don't turn in your best work because you know you'll have to make changes as if your best work cannot possibly be improved. I also would hazard a guess (based on my observations and comments from friends who teach) that a lot of students want an A without working hard. They focus so much on the "A" that they don't take anything valuable from the class.
I know that there is room for improvement. However based on how this instructor grades I have an idea as to what to expect. She grades for grammer, not for content. Those were her exact words in the syllabus.


For many reasons that I do not want to get into, I am taking this class over. I did excellent the first time so I am not questioning my ability to write an essay. If she were going to give feedback that would make my paper standout I would welcome it. Instead none of that was given on my paper or those of my classmates with home I am familiar. I was prepared for this type of professor when I chose to take classes at a community college until I became a resident of the state to which we moved in August and could trashfer to the university without have to pay a substanial amount in out of state fees.

Yes, I have a been there done that attitude, because I have been there and done that. I have excellent relationships with my other professor and instructors and I value their opinions, even when my work is sharply criticized.
I work hard and they realize it. I probably work too hard. I push myself harder than ever becuase I know my capabilites and my limits.

I never really thought about wanting an A, but not putting in the work to obtain one. I also pride myself on the fact that I can recall information from classes that I took in the 6th grade. I have a passion for learning that I hope to pass on to my son. I gre up attending great schools that prided themselves on their educational mehtods and the excellence of their students. I grew up in a family who accepts nothing but the best in a academic arena and working hard to obtain it. I have a grandmother who obtained her udergrad and her masters with 3 young children under the age of 5 who would expect nothing less of me than an A. Maybe I am not seeing the point that you all are tying to make, but I set a bar for myself that only I can cross. I do not believe in putting limits on what I can do or what I can obtain.

I am sorry that those of you who are educators have students who want good grades, but do not work hard to obtain them. Rest assured that I am not one of those students. I work 37.5 hours a week at my job then I come home and devote aother 25 to my studies. More or less depending on the week. Not all students are the same.
post #71 of 84
Pia -- yes, of course some people who get As learn. But the A is an afterthought.

If you're focused on the A, you're focused on the points -- what do I have to do to satisfy the teacher here? What hoop do I need to jump through there?

If you're there to learn, which is to say 'to teach yourself', your questions look more like this: Why is that important (beyond grades)? That doesn't make any sense; what about _______? Is X really true? Why should it be that way? How do you know? I want to try _______; here, teacher, get out of my way and give me some room to do this thing.

When you're there to learn, your teacher is an experienced guide and tutor, not a scoring machine. And -- aha -- I see now why the kids do this stuff. They're looking at the teachers as scoring machines. If the scoring machine does not drop the right score, you kick and shake the machine until the score you wanted is dislodged, or at least until you get your change back.
post #72 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by piad View Post
I know that there is room for improvement. However based on how this instructor grades I have an idea as to what to expect. She grades for grammer grammar, not for content. Those were her exact words in the syllabus.


For many reasons that I do not want to get into, I am taking this class over. I did excellent excellently? very well? extremely well? "excellent" is an adjective, not an adverb the first time so I am not questioning my ability to write an essay. If she were going to give feedback that would make my paper standout stand outI would welcome it. Instead none of that was given on my paper or those of my classmates with home whomI am familiar. I was prepared for this type of professor when I chose to take classes at a community college until I became a resident of the state to which we moved in August and could trashfer transferto the university without have havingto pay a substanial amount in out of state fees.

Yes, I have a been there done that attitude, because I have been there and done that. I have excellent relationships with my other professor and instructors and I value their opinions, even when my work is sharply criticized.
I work hard and they realize it. I probably work too hard. I push myself harder than ever becuase becauseI know my capabilites and my limits.
......

I am sorry that those of you who are educators have students who want good grades, but do not work hard to obtain them. Rest assured that I am not one of those students. I work 37.5 hours a week at my job then I come home and devote aother 25 to my studies. More or less depending on the week. Not all students are the same.
I corrected a bunch of mistakes in your writing here not because message board postings are generally held to the same standards as are school papers, but because there were SO many of them, in a post where you specifically say that you do not question your writing abilities. Since you know your instructor grades more on structure than on content, even if you don't agree with that priority, don't you think that part of your job as a student in the class is to follow her instructions, so that if you want to get a certain grade, you make sure that the things graded most are done very well? You may do this; I don't know. But the number of errors here suggests you may not.

Further, working hard, and working long hours, is not necessarily the same thing as working WELL. I've had lots of students tell me that they study tremendously long hours, and very hard, and I have no doubt that that's true. But when I go over with them WHAT they do to study, it's very clear why they're not doing as well as they'd like. And when they start to follow some of the suggestions I give them about note-taking, using study guides, etc, they generally do much better, and in much less time. (These suggestions, by the way, are pretty much always the same ones that are on my class website, which I go over on the very first day of class.....)

Frankly, I find the sense of entitlement that comes through all of your posts really off-putting, and I'm guessing that if comes through to your instructor as well. Perhaps the ones you have better relationships with are the ones you don't obviously disrespect, or from whom you actually feel you might learn something, those whom you feel have "earned" your best work. I don't know. I do know, though, that it's hard to feel a lot of sympathy for someone who complains about her grade, and her teacher's feedback, while she consistently says that she doesn't turn in her best work, doesn't question her writing ability at all, and clearly doesn't think her instructor has much of value to offer her.
post #73 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by eggplant View Post
I corrected a bunch of mistakes in your writing here not because message board postings are generally held to the same standards as are school papers, but because there were SO many of them
I understand why you felt the need to point these out - but piad did mention a few posts prior that she was operating on limited time.

Just chiming in after much lurking because I see both sides of the story. It's tough dealing with entitled students. There are more than there should be in this generation. Those are the cards on the table though.

I feel that piad's heart is in the right place. Striving for excellence means having a tangible item for certain learning types. In most settings a grade is the measurable. Why else would GPA's be one of many focus points for acceptance into graduate programs or for employers seeking job candidates.

The root of the problem is that her instructor revised expectations after releasing the assignment. IMHO the manner in which new criteria was presented was less than professional as well.
post #74 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by m0dernist View Post
I feel that piad's heart is in the right place. Striving for excellence means having a tangible item for certain learning types. In most settings a grade is the measurable. Why else would GPA's be one of many focus points for acceptance into graduate programs or for employers seeking job candidates.
There are plenty of meaningful tangible items in writing classes. Here's one: "I want to write a ________ as good as '________'." Or: "I will write a clear, grammatically correct, and engaging narrative."

GPA is less important than you may think. It's a winnowing tool, that's all. But grad programs are not usually looking for gradebots. My GPA is laughable and almost always has been, but that hasn't stopped top schools from recruiting me to undergrad and grad programs, and it certainly hasn't been a factor in employment. I actually went back to school as an undergrad because I thought I might have to whip my abysmal GPA into shape if I wanted to get a PhD. Within one semester I'd been disabused of the notion that my GPA would matter, and faculty were encouraging me to forget about it and apply to top programs. I kept bringing it up, thinking maybe they didn't understand _how bad_ it was, until they gave me the "you're being an idiot, shut up" look, and then I shut up.

Also, a secret about "measurable": All of the scales are manmade and involve subjectivity. Every last one of them. You might as well develop your own, and see that they're good ones.
post #75 of 84
[edited for anonymity]
post #76 of 84
I was the "I need an A" student while I was in college, and I did graduate with a 4.0. Now, as a professor, I am disturbed by all of the students who are like me. I was willing to work to get my A, but at the same time, I was also obsessed with figuring out what the teacher "wanted" instead of learning. I was afraid to take academic risks because I wanted the grade so badly. Especially in writing, thinking only about grades is antithetical to producing good writing.

FWIW, that 4.0 is not important at all now, and it didn't make a bit of difference in terms of getting into graduate school. When I look back, I wish that I would have been easier on myself and less invested in grades.
post #77 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by crwilson View Post
I was the "I need an A" student while I was in college, and I did graduate with a 4.0. Now, as a professor, I am disturbed by all of the students who are like me. I was willing to work to get my A, but at the same time, I was also obsessed with figuring out what the teacher "wanted" instead of learning. I was afraid to take academic risks because I wanted the grade so badly. Especially in writing, thinking only about grades is antithetical to producing good writing.

FWIW, that 4.0 is not important at all now, and it didn't make a bit of difference in terms of getting into graduate school. When I look back, I wish that I would have been easier on myself and less invested in grades.
You know, I wonder how many of these "get an A" people actually know how to do anything but score points. It's of concern to me as I watch these kids, from age 3 up, being trained to meet some goal instead of having serious play.

My dd is 4.5 now; the other day she started wondering why her reflection is upside down in the spoon. Now, I could've told her, and started prepping her for standardized science tests; instead I kicked the question back to her, and every so often I'll throw out an hypothesis, like "maybe the spoon sees you upside down". (To which she replies, "Spoons can't see." "Why not?" "They don't have any eyes." "Oh. (Pause) Do you have to have eyes to see?" "Yes. I think so. I don't know. But anyway a spoon's not alive.") Every so often the spoon/reflections/metal-shining questions take her to a place where I can toss out something big, like "What's light made of, then?" And she fingers over these questions as she plays; this is part of ordinary life. There are music games, story games, word games, pattern games, newspaper games -- nothing formal, just a sense of play and a sense of something serious. We're fantastically lucky in our daycare, too; the guy who runs it is of a similar cast of mind, an educated & thoughtful hippie/artist. There's no circle time or any such thing at his place, but he pays attention to what the kids do as they play and will sometimes nose in with annoying questions that force them to pay more attention to what they're doing or saying and why. And he listens to them.

If you don't have that -- a sense of freedom to wonder and nose around, and drop down into whatever questions or projects interest you and take them seriously, without regard to what a class or group is doing today -- I would think it'd seriously hamper your ability to do anything but run after grades or scores or whatever prize the teacher holds up.
post #78 of 84
Discussion about this "I need an A" mentality has been very interesting to me. Not about piad and her situation, specifically, but about my own college experience.

It's got me thinking a lot about my undergrad years as a biology major and pre-med. There are waaaay too many A-seekers in pre-med classes, in fact it completely drove me away from the subject altogether. Now 10 years later, though, I realize that just comes with the territory and am applying to med school after all. With my lowsy 3.5 GPA LOL

No, seriously, I found that although many of my classmates had gotten 4.0s, they didn't really learn. Could memorize facts and regurgitate them, but they didn't really learn. These students would be the first to complain when a [very smart] prof would change things up, "just because". I remember one time, in a biochemistry class, instead of the standard multiple choice test, the prof made it an essay test. We had to write several pages describing a specific biochemical process, and then hypothesize about whether this process was efficient and if we could, what we'd change about the process to improve it. Heh. . funny that a lot of the "4.0 students" did poorly on that one.

I won't say that I didn't care about my GPA, but I wasn't nearly as anal about it as a lot of kids. To mitigate the risk of getting a poor grade in a class that was way out of my comfort zone, I elected to take it pass/fail. My university allowed something like 18 hours to be taken pass/fail, provided they were not classes required by my major or minor.

Being the science geek that I am, I had a real difficulty with classes like literature and creative writing. I'm more of a non-fiction and technical writing person. But I wanted to improve myself. One class in particular was a 400-level class on early twentieth century literature. Totally waaay out of my comfort zone. So I took it pass/fail, figuring that with a lot of hard work I could at least earn a C equivalent and pass. Turns out, I did great! It was such a relief, though, to be able to relax and learn without the pressure of a grade or GPA. In hindsight, I should have taken more advantage of the pass/fail option to really get out there and explore subjects I knew nothing about without the risk of "damaging" my GPA.
post #79 of 84
I just wanted to thank all the Mama's who responded to this thread. It's been a real learning experience for me to read all the replies. I don't do well in English. I'm currently in English 102, and it stresses me out.

I don't really care about my grade, last semester I was overjoyed with a C in English 101. I want to learn the content, because I know I will need this knowledge to be ingrained in my memory for my future. I don't want to stress out every time I need to write something.

Just a big thanks. This thread has been (and I hope continues to be) a great read for me. Any more advice, words of wisdom, for us writing challenged I would welcome. (If you feel that is hijacking the thread, you can PM me).
post #80 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by crwilson View Post
I was afraid to take academic risks because I wanted the grade so badly. Especially in writing, thinking only about grades is antithetical to producing good writing.
That's my whole point! Students who are solely focused on the grade write the most deadly boring papers I've ever read. I'd much rather read a creative paper with a few mistakes than a boring one!

I will also write you a deadly boring letter of recommendation. You do not want me to write "She met all the requirements and wrote accurate papers." That is the kiss of death unless you want a job filing papers. You want me to write "She actively engaged with the ideas and pushed to apply those ideas to the current context and then to other contexts. Her writing showed steady improvement over the term, and her responses to my comments showed that she is able to take feedback and use it to positively improve her writing."


Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post
No, seriously, I found that although many of my classmates had gotten 4.0s, they didn't really learn. Could memorize facts and regurgitate them, but they didn't really learn.
College is supposed to teach you to learn. If you need specific skills, choose a professional program. If you want to set yourself up to learn any skill when and how you choose, choose a liberal arts education!

To focus solely on the grade with no attention to content is short changing yourself and wasting your money.

I understand that the OP has reasons for re-doing this class, and that the professor is less than stellar (focusing on form, not content), but I find it hard to believe that there is nothing left for her to learn.

I will now bow out, as I have 35 final essays to grade!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Working and Student Parents
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Working and Student Parents › Were my professor's words in regard to child birth stories cruel and demeaning?