Monday, December 5, 2011

Tribulations of a Comp Professor

I love my job but inevitably, every composition section contains at least a few instances of the following:

Prologue (Day 1)

Stress the importance of due dates, revision, that writing is a process, and that attendance and participation aren't synonymous. Also, teach a quick lesson on how to write a formal email to a professor, airing a grievance or asking for a favor.

Act I (throughout semester)

Present students with frequent opportunities for conferences, feedback, extra credit, etc. The ones who take greatest advantage of these opportunities are the ones who don't really need them.

Act II (two weeks before Finals Week)

Email several students who are in danger of not passing the course, warn them, tell them to talk to me ASAP so we can see how they're doing, see if they can still squeak by, etc.

Act III (one week before Finals Week)

None of said students show up to class and none respond to the email.

Act IV (Finals Week)

Said students show up late and despite having the instructions read to them four times, and posted on the overhead, they do the final incorrectly, then swagger out of the classroom with a final scowl of grumpy derision.

Act V (End of Finals Week)

Said students fail the class.

Epilogue (two weeks later)

Respond to a flurry of frantic, punctuation-free emails from former students who want to know why they failed and if there is anything they can do to pass the class.

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