I am a sick and pathetic teacher.

I finished grading everything for one of my classes. Come to find out every student made either a C or D, disregarding the one that stop coming to class and only showed up for the final who lord be told got an unexpected “F”.

Here is the problem. I dont like this fact. My grading scale is strange to begin with and it usually works well*. I mean nearly 8 classes of teaching and I have only had this happen this time. I usually get a couple of A’s, a few more B’s, whole shit load of C’s and then the occasional D or F for the deserving student. So why the lack of A’s and B’s. Well it seems my students didnt do so well on the papers and many that did, did not do so well on the homework (such as not doing it.)

So whats the problem you ask? Well Im currently playing with the figures and the numbers to see if I can change curve the class without passing the ones who didnt do the work to pass. This is wrong in my opinion. I shouldnt be messing with weights to see who will pass and who will not. I use a grading rubric to eliminate bias. I grade hard because damnit someone should. Oh fucking hell I hate this shit. I feel terrible when I know a student tried their best and only got a 73 / C. I can justify it with rational talk such as well the student would have made a low C in another class. And the students who made a 60 or below would have failed in another class, but they are passing with a C. I know, I know. But it still upsets the fuck out of me.

*My grading scale:
90-100 – A — reasoning — its hard to get an A in fact you have to do above the call of duty to get an A
75-89 – B — reasoning — somone who makes a few mistakes but hits the major areas — Content and Organization can swing a B. Its not impossible, but it requires effort.
55-74 – C — reasoning — if you work hard but cant quite grasp something or have small errors that keep repeating, I can nail you hard for them and you can still walk away with a C.
45-54 – D — reasoning — D means you have major problems, it should hurt but not to the exten where you cant come out of it. Depending on the number of assignments. One or Two D’s does not mean the end of the world.
0-44 – F — reasoning — If a student scores an F, they presented a paper which shows either a need for serious help and maybe a second try at the class or an unwillingness to do what is needed.

The grading rubric breaks the areas I grade for into 5 areas – Content and Organization, both of which have a multiple of 5; Syntax, which has a multiple of 4; and Diction and Grammar, Mechanics, and Format, which both have a multiple of 3. Within each category, the student can get a grade of 1-5 which is multiplied to the multiple. This allows the student to realize that working on Content and Organization will benefit them more than working on the others, although they are harder to fix than the others. This rubric is the main reason it takes me so long to grade papers.

*edited for spelling error — I knew cubric didnt sound right but it was long day*

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0 Responses to I am a sick and pathetic teacher.

  1. wduluoz says:

    From May-FLY If she would be so kind as to repost it in here Ill delete this one —————- just fyi. i would’ve replied, but couldn’t. here’s what i was going to say… wow. i use a traditional 89.5-100 a 79.5-89.49 b 69.5-79.49 c 59.5-69.49 d 0-59.49 f scale. for each essay, i grade in five categories, on fifteen point essays, with each category being worth 3 points. reasoning: 3 (a-ish)- i am so @#$ing impressed with you 2.5 (b-ish)- meets standards 2 (c-ish)- approaching standards 1.5 (d-ish)- nice try, no cigar 1 (f)- did you even try? 0- your daring lack of effort outrages me for all my essays i use rubrics like the one below: Quote: Essay 4: Documentary Objectivity Critique Argument (15 pts) NOTE: IF STAMPED ROUGH DRAFT (WHICH WAS TO HAVE BEEN WRITTEN IN MY PRESENCE, IN CLASS) IS MISSING, PAPER WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Student Name: ________________________________________ Following Assignment (3) 3 – Notes included and stamped. Paper spelling and grammar checked. Has correct number of pages or more. Adheres perfectly to standard doc. format (page 151 in style guide). MLA style throughout. 2.5 – Notes included but not stamped. Spelling and grammar checked carelessly or incompletely. Has correct number of pages. Adheres imperfectly to standard document format. 2 – Notes omitted. Spelling or grammar checked, but carelessly or incompletely. Slightly less than correct number of pages. Does not attempt to adhere to standard document format. 1 – Rampant errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. More than 1/2 page less than the correct number of pages. No attempt to follow standard document format. Content (3) 3 – Essay argues that a documentary is subjective, pointing out its biases or logical fallacies. Argument is sound and focused. Relevant details of documentary well-described. Conclusion outlines possibilities for “truth” behind documentary or otherwise shows independent and original analysis. Title is appropriate, exact. 2.5 – Essay may lack direction, describing irrelevant aspects of documentary. Essay may be slightly unclear in sections, not giving enough description or context for argument. Argument may contain minor errors in logic. Synthesis is present, but argument not completely successful. Title is appropriate. 2 – Essay may describe documentary well, but argument unclear or vague. Argument may contain one major or a few minor logical errors or false assumptions. Not enough focus on logical fallacies or directorial manipulation. Title needs improvement. 1 – Essay completely unfocused. May contain filler, unnecessary description or argument, or little description or argument at all. Argument unclear, vague, and illogical. No reference to logical fallacies or directorial manipulation. Title inappropriate. Organization (3) 3 – Conscious, clear, defensible decisions have been made about sequencing of subtopics. Reader is always certain where the essay is going. Transitional phrases are used to explain connections between subtopics. Sentence order within paragraphs is also logical. The essay “flows.” 2.5 – Conscious decisions have been made about sequencing of subtopics, but they may not carry through clearly into the body text of the essay. Reader may be uncertain where the essay is going at times, but for the most part transitional phrases are used to explain connections between subtopics and sentences are in logical order. 2 – Sequencing of subtopics in outline and paper seem arbitrary, unexplained. Reader may be uncertain where the essay is going. Transitional phrases may be omitted. Sentences may be in illogical or seemingly random order. Essay is jumbled, confused. 1 – Subtopic sequencing is a complete enigma. Reader feels lost for the majority of the essay. No transitions. Essay in dire need of organizational revision. Style (3) 3 – Essay is very clearly written (1-9 in style guide) in third person and a moderately formal style and is directed to an academic audience. Essay is objective. 2.5 – Essay is clearly written in third person and a moderately formal style (may occasionally become too informal) and is directed to an academic audience. 2 – Writing is sometimes unclear. Essay is written in third person, but in a far too informal style. Not directed to the appropriate audience. 1 – Writing is unclear. Essay is informal, ignores many style conventions. No conception of audience. Technical (3) 3 – Essay contains no major and very few minor errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics (10-24 in style guide). No errors are repeated or consistent. 2.5 – Essay contains very few errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. No errors are repeated or consistent. 2 – Essay contains only a few major or only minor errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. There may be a few consistent error patterns, but a handle on spelling and grammar is still, for the most part, illustrated. 1 – Essay contains many errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. Many of these errors are consistently repeated. Essay does not illustrate an understanding of spelling and grammar. i equally weighted each of these areas. my reasoning was i was trying to teach all of those skills, and i didn’t want to de-emphasize anything. however, now that i think about it, that seems rather arbitrary… i killed myself over grading last semester, so this semester i devised a strategic way to grade using the pocket style guide by diana hacker. it labels style and technical problems with numbers and letters (for example, 6a. use parallelism) and instead of writing out what they are doing wrong longhand on the essay, whenever possible i will just circle the offending word or phrase in the text and reference the # of the related issue in the style guide. (i now have them memorized.) then, for homework every time i hand back essays, they have to take the essays home and look up their errors. so, yeah, i made up this system, and it makes it quite easy on me, but i have no idea how well it works for them. i guess we’ll see when i finish grading the finals and later when i get my evaluations… obviously, you’re right about content being far more important than the other stuff… unfortunately, that didn’t occur to me when i was creating the rubric… i’ll definitely weight content more heavily next semester. several questions (i may ask you this in person if i see you this weekend): what’s the reasoning for using a non-ten-point grading scale? what’s a cubric? do you use rubrics? i also want to talk to you and david at some point about The Rules In Grammar That Need Challenging according to that woman at that seminar you guys went to. i think i want to make sure i don’t teach them. i know nothing.

  2. mealymel says:

    I felt bad about some of mine, too… but then said fuck it, oh well. Because those who did lousy really deserved it. I know it can play on your conscience, though– I always think I’m a terrible teacher when I get a lot of low grades… I’ve never been in your situation, though. Of course, I’ve also never taught at the college remedial level, either. you’ve seen my rubric, right? It’s not much different than these, but if you for some reason feel you need more models, I’d be happy to share.

  3. horselover_fat says:

    [quote:2a38d5e37e]I grade hard because damnit someone should. [/quote:2a38d5e37e] I always thought it would be nice, if I wound up taking English at ULL, to have my good friend Trey as a teacher. A cakewalk. Now I’m not so sure. [quote:2a38d5e37e]*edited for spelling error — I knew cubric didnt sound right but it was long day*[/quote:2a38d5e37e] You just had Stanley Kubrik on the brain. Ron.

  4. mayfly says:

    wow. i use a traditional 89.5-100 a 79.5-89.49 b 69.5-79.49 c 59.5-69.49 d 0-59.49 f scale. for each essay, i grade in five categories, on fifteen point essays, with each category being worth 3 points. reasoning: 3 (a-ish)- i am so @#$ing impressed with you 2.5 (b-ish)- meets standards 2 (c-ish)- approaching standards 1.5 (d-ish)- nice try, no cigar 1 (f)- did you even try? 0- your daring lack of effort outrages me for all my essays i use rubrics like the one below: Quote: Essay 4: Documentary Objectivity Critique Argument (15 pts) NOTE: IF STAMPED ROUGH DRAFT (WHICH WAS TO HAVE BEEN WRITTEN IN MY PRESENCE, IN CLASS) IS MISSING, PAPER WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Student Name: ________________________________________ Following Assignment (3) 3 – Notes included and stamped. Paper spelling and grammar checked. Has correct number of pages or more. Adheres perfectly to standard doc. format (page 151 in style guide). MLA style throughout. 2.5 – Notes included but not stamped. Spelling and grammar checked carelessly or incompletely. Has correct number of pages. Adheres imperfectly to standard document format. 2 – Notes omitted. Spelling or grammar checked, but carelessly or incompletely. Slightly less than correct number of pages. Does not attempt to adhere to standard document format. 1 – Rampant errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. More than 1/2 page less than the correct number of pages. No attempt to follow standard document format. Content (3) 3 – Essay argues that a documentary is subjective, pointing out its biases or logical fallacies. Argument is sound and focused. Relevant details of documentary well-described. Conclusion outlines possibilities for “truth” behind documentary or otherwise shows independent and original analysis. Title is appropriate, exact. 2.5 – Essay may lack direction, describing irrelevant aspects of documentary. Essay may be slightly unclear in sections, not giving enough description or context for argument. Argument may contain minor errors in logic. Synthesis is present, but argument not completely successful. Title is appropriate. 2 – Essay may describe documentary well, but argument unclear or vague. Argument may contain one major or a few minor logical errors or false assumptions. Not enough focus on logical fallacies or directorial manipulation. Title needs improvement. 1 – Essay completely unfocused. May contain filler, unnecessary description or argument, or little description or argument at all. Argument unclear, vague, and illogical. No reference to logical fallacies or directorial manipulation. Title inappropriate. Organization (3) 3 – Conscious, clear, defensible decisions have been made about sequencing of subtopics. Reader is always certain where the essay is going. Transitional phrases are used to explain connections between subtopics. Sentence order within paragraphs is also logical. The essay “flows.” 2.5 – Conscious decisions have been made about sequencing of subtopics, but they may not carry through clearly into the body text of the essay. Reader may be uncertain where the essay is going at times, but for the most part transitional phrases are used to explain connections between subtopics and sentences are in logical order. 2 – Sequencing of subtopics in outline and paper seem arbitrary, unexplained. Reader may be uncertain where the essay is going. Transitional phrases may be omitted. Sentences may be in illogical or seemingly random order. Essay is jumbled, confused. 1 – Subtopic sequencing is a complete enigma. Reader feels lost for the majority of the essay. No transitions. Essay in dire need of organizational revision. Style (3) 3 – Essay is very clearly written (1-9 in style guide) in third person and a moderately formal style and is directed to an academic audience. Essay is objective. 2.5 – Essay is clearly written in third person and a moderately formal style (may occasionally become too informal) and is directed to an academic audience. 2 – Writing is sometimes unclear. Essay is written in third person, but in a far too informal style. Not directed to the appropriate audience. 1 – Writing is unclear. Essay is informal, ignores many style conventions. No conception of audience. Technical (3) 3 – Essay contains no major and very few minor errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics (10-24 in style guide). No errors are repeated or consistent. 2.5 – Essay contains very few errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. No errors are repeated or consistent. 2 – Essay contains only a few major or only minor errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. There may be a few consistent error patterns, but a handle on spelling and grammar is still, for the most part, illustrated. 1 – Essay contains many errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. Many of these errors are consistently repeated. Essay does not illustrate an understanding of spelling and grammar. i equally weighted each of these areas. my reasoning was i was trying to teach all of those skills, and i didn’t want to de-emphasize anything. however, now that i think about it, that seems rather arbitrary… i killed myself over grading last semester, so this semester i devised a strategic way to grade using the pocket style guide by diana hacker. it labels style and technical problems with numbers and letters (for example, 6a. use parallelism) and instead of writing out what they are doing wrong longhand on the essay, whenever possible i will just circle the offending word or phrase in the text and reference the # of the related issue in the style guide. (i now have them memorized.) then, for homework every time i hand back essays, they have to take the essays home and look up their errors. so, yeah, i made up this system, and it makes it quite easy on me, but i have no idea how well it works for them. i guess we’ll see when i finish grading the finals and later when i get my evaluations… obviously, you’re right about content being far more important than the other stuff… unfortunately, that didn’t occur to me when i was creating the rubric… i’ll definitely weight content more heavily next semester. several questions (i may ask you this in person if i see you this weekend): what’s the reasoning for using a non-ten-point grading scale? what’s a cubric? do you use rubrics? i also want to talk to you and david at some point about The Rules In Grammar That Need Challenging according to that woman at that seminar you guys went to. i think i want to make sure i don’t teach them. i know nothing. —- ADDENDUM: i now have an interview with the nyu expository writing program on tuesday morning for a position that would give me $18,000 over the course of the next two semesters and give me free tuition, so these issues are more important than ever. fellow english instructors, discuss with me! help!!!