One of my new favorite pastimes is having educators forward me obnoxious emails from students, and then I respond as if I were the teacher and if I wasn't afraid of losing my job. Without further ado..
I talked to you earlier in the semester about how to do better on the test and everything I try doesn't work, I still get that same dang 63%, I am beginning to think it is a curse. I have tried working in groups, reading and listening to the lecture, notecards, everything I can think of and have tried in other classes. I am beginning to panic because we have 3 weeks left of the semester and I desparetly need a C to graduate in April. This is just an elective course for my major and I have no desire to become a doctor or a nurse, I just want to work with athletes.
Thats my problem, my question is, Do you curve final grades and will that be needed this semester? Is there a chance I can do some extra credit work in order to help my grade. I currently have a 71% (C-) and hope to do well on this test but I am beginning to worry that I will never pass the class and that I will never graduate. I hope you can help and I will continue to work hard even if there is nothing you can do. Thanks for reading and let me know what I can do.
Girl College Student
My comments are below in red.
I talked to you earlier in the semester about how to do better on the test and everything I try doesn't work,
If everything you try isn't working, then you either need to try more, try something else, and/or try everything you're doing, but for substantially longer amounts of time. If you get to 40 hrs of trying a week and still see no improvement, let me know and we can talk. But, at that point, the problem is probably you and not the content.
I still get that same dang 63%,
This is probably a reflection of your natural ability. The servant with three talents wasn't expected to earn five.
I am beginning to think it is a curse.
Oh, look what we have here, a theory about why you're doing poorly in this class that absolves you from all responsibility. C'mon, doesn't that seem a little too convenient? This could be a motivation or ability problem, and maybe both, but I can guarantee you that Hamlet's witches aren't sitting around a big ol' black pot talking about you, dear.
I have tried working in groups, reading and listening to the lecture, notecards, everything I can think of and have tried in other classes.
Wait, wait, wait... You mean you've actually gone to the effort of trying ALL the things that most students try anyway and you're still not rocketing to the top of the class? I'm so sorry you had to read AND listen to the lecture AND take notes AND talk to other classmates. This sacrifice might make you a saint, but, sadly, grades are based on scholastic achievement. If there was a class called "Doing Everything You Can Think Of," and that class was capped for people who thought of four things and under, I would totally give you an "A."
I am beginning to panic because we have 3 weeks left of the semester and I desparetly need a C to graduate in April.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, why the rush? "Three weeks left in the semester...?" Listen Early Bird, why not write me the night before the final?
This is just an elective course for my major
I'm not sure what you mean when you say "just an elective course for my major," unless that is the way you meant to say, "A course I chose of my own free will that also is required to earn my diploma." (But if you meant something different, let me know.)
and I have no desire to become a doctor or a nurse, I just want to work with athletes.
Here is a place where I can give you some good news: Many people who neither graduate on time nor have stellar grades are still perfectly able to work with athletes. The dream remains alive.
Thats my problem,
Actually, I don't think you have come close to accurately stating your problem, but for the sake of the email we will move on...
my question is, Do you curve final grades and will that be needed this semester?
This is actually a two part question. Let me break it down for you. First, yes, I do curve grades. Second, I do not know, because I have no idea what you mean when you say "needed this semester."
"Needed" as in "a bunch of whiny kids, who despite doing all four things they could think of to succeed in the class, will still need a generous curve in order to slip by and graduate (even though this class is just an elective needed for their major)," then, yes, there will be a curve. However, if you meant "needed" as in, "the universe, the law, or the gods demand it," then the answer is no. The curve is not needed. It's seldom needed. It's something that can be done that is often helpful to students.
In the case of you and this class, it is a charity and not an entitlement. Much like a child who slips past birth control's best defenses, this is something you should not have been expecting but should be grateful for when it comes.
Is there a chance I can do some extra credit work in order to help my grade.
There you go ascribing things to happenstance and enchantments again. What you're really asking me for here is a favor. You could at least do me the courtesy of acknowledging that fact. Extra credit doesn't spring forth from the head of Zeus. It's not something meteorologists predict--"It's going to be about 60 degrees outside today, with a chance of extra credit happening at the end of the semester."
Next time, try something like this: "Sister Kimball, if you think it's fair and will allow it, I would like to do some extra credit work--something that would help me learn more and prepare for the final. Please let me know what you think."
You might have also noticed how I dropped the part about doing the "work in order to help my grade." See, here's the deal, I don't care about your grade. That doesn't mean that I want you to fail. That doesn't mean I am indifferent to your success. I am looking forward with great hope to the class where everyone earns an "A."
However, I don't know a single professor who got into this business thinking, "Oh man, I really hope I can help the world by helping grades!" We do this because we love learning. We do this because we want you to learn and grow as people. We do this because it's a job and because we're qualified. I hope I speak for most professors when I say I would much rather you earn a "dang 63%" in the class and become a smarter and better person, and carry all the knowledge one has to acquire to earn a "dang 63%" with you always, then to have you graduate with an "A" while not learning a thing or remembering anything once you've left the class. I don't care about the development of your GPA because I care about the development of you.
I currently have a 71% (C-)
A pretty great grade for someone who gets a "dang 63%" on all her tests and exams. (Don't mention it; you're welcome.)
and hope to do well on this test but I am beginning to worry that I will never pass the class and that I will never graduate.
I'm sorry, is this your last semester on earth? Do you plan to start a life sentence soon? If not, then this is another place where I can give you good news: Me and the whole university system will still be here ready and willing to educate once April is over.
I sincerely hope you are able to do well on the final, and if you want to talk to me about how to study for the final I will set up a time with you. HOWEVER, even if you do fail miserably--despite reading AND listening to the lectures--you are welcome with open arms to take the class again until you can show you've gained a mastery of the content. (And, in general, I would refrain from concluding that something can't be done when at the conclusion of your first attempt it seems like you might have failed. That's no way to learn how to ride a bike, speak a language, eat solid foods, or how to achieve any number of worthy endeavors.)
I hope you can help
Your hope was misplaced; I've always been able to help. I could change your grade right now with about four mouse clicks and a few keystrokes. But you might remember from above that helping your grade is generally outside my scope of interest. I would love to help you learn the subject matter. I would love to talk to you about the miracle of the human body and how it works and what keeps it from working well. But if you're really saying, "I hope you will improve my grade because I asked," then I would respond, "Why should I do for you what you were unwilling to do for yourself?" This would be like me writing you with three weeks left in the semester and saying, "I hope you can give me a good evaluation." Of course you CAN, but if I really wanted that for myself, I could've and should've done something about it much earlier.
and I will continue to work hard even if there is nothing you can do.
Again, your fixation on my abilities is misplaced. There is so much I can do. And yet there isn't much I can do to make you learn. I can serve up content. I can answer questions. I can give advice. I can also reassure you that it's completely possible to do well in this class without being a some kind of Rain Man. (Garden variety students get good grades in here every semester.)
But there are some things I can't do. I can't make you: remember anything; spend forty-hours making flash cards when there are two million things you'd rather be doing; or make you annoy all your friends and family by saying, "Hey, will you quiz me on the functions of the pancreas again?" Also, I'm afraid if you want to do well, you're going to have to do more than "continue to work hard." Whatever effort you may currently be giving, it seems clear you're going to have to "work harder."
Thanks for reading and let me know what I can do.
Girl College Student