Saturday, June 20, 2015

a bit of grade-related psychology

Since yesterday morning, I've been bombarded by student requests to know grades. The kids have no sense of timing or decorum; they hit me during mealtimes; they message me after midnight. One pushy student was rude enough to message me again fifteen minutes after his first texting. His second text contained an animated cartoon that said, in Korean, "I'm shocked! I haven't heard anything back yet." Really fucking rude. "Please be patient," I texted civilly in response. I was on the bus at the time, and although I was technically able to access his grades through my cell phone (I've stored all that data on Google Drive), looking at grades on a tiny screen is a bitch for these steadily oldering eyes.

One thing I've noticed, though, is that the students who suspect they're getting "A"s and "B"s are much faster to ask after their grades than are the students getting lower grades. I imagine that we all have a gut instinct when it comes to whether the sword of Damocles is going to fall. I can understand why a self-aware student who knows his or her own mediocrity would hesitate to ask about that final grade. The worst, though, is when a student with an unaccountably high opinion of him- or herself comes to learn that, no, s/he didn't get that hoped-for "A" or "B," but has instead been slapped across the face by the raw steak of a "C+." D'oh. Whom the gods destroy, first they make proud, and there is oh-so-much self-delusion among my students.


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