Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Professor, can I talk to you about my grade?

Well, this week seems to be article posting week!

I blame my lovely and intelligent friends on all of my various boards and on Twitter. They are an amazing, interesting, and varied bunch.

Anyway, here's the article on the inflated sense of entitlement in today's college students.

"“Many students come in with the conviction that they’ve worked hard and deserve a higher mark,” Professor [Marshall] Grossman [U of Maryland] said. “Some assert that they have never gotten a grade as low as this before.”

He attributes those complaints to his students’ sense of entitlement.

“I tell my classes that if they just do what they are supposed to do and meet the standard requirements, that they will earn a C,” he said. “That is the default grade. They see the default grade as an A.”"


"James Hogge, associate dean of the Peabody School of Education at Vanderbilt University, said: “Students often confuse the level of effort with the quality of work. There is a mentality in students that ‘if I work hard, I deserve a high grade.’"

And these quotes by students just floored me:

"Jason Greenwood, a senior kinesiology major at the University of Maryland echoed that view.

“I think putting in a lot of effort should merit a high grade,” Mr. Greenwood said. “What else is there really than the effort that you put in?”

“If you put in all the effort you have and get a C, what is the point?” he added. “If someone goes to every class and reads every chapter in the book and does everything the teacher asks of them and more, then they should be getting an A like their effort deserves. If your maximum effort can only be average in a teacher’s mind, then something is wrong.”

Yes, Jason, honey. What's wrong is that you HAVE NOT ACHEIVED ANYTHING. 

Let's say you're stranded on a desert island and there's a cache of food under a large stone.  You go out every day and struggle against that stone - go out 10 times a day and push and groan and really really really make an effort to move that bloody great stone so that you can eat.  But no matter how hard you try, the basic fact is: if you don't move that stone - if you are too small or too weak or whatever other reason - you will not eat.

Just because you pay your money and show up and read the books and attend class doesn't guarantee you an education. You gotta LEARN shit. When you get out in the real world  knowing nothing about kinesiology (what IS that anyway?) you won't be able to tell your boss "Well, I tried really hard!"

Would you like a surgeon operating on you who couldn't recall the basics of gross anatomy but he got good grades cuz he TRIED really hard?!

More student nuggets of wisdom:

"Sarah Kinn, a junior English major at the University of Vermont, agreed, saying, “I feel that if I do all of the readings and attend class regularly that I should be able to achieve a grade of at least a B.”

Yes, Sarah, you should be able to, but you have to show your professor that you actually know something about English not just that you could be arsed to show up for class.

Best quote from article: “Instead of getting an A, they make an A,”

That's right.  We earn what we get.  What a concept.

Parents you are SO falling down on the job. I swear it starts with kindergarten graduations and peewee soccer games where everyone gets a trophy whether they played well or stood on the sidelines whinging. It starts with parents expecting their little perfect miraculous angels to be responsible for their own farking actions.

(PS: yes, I Googled kinesiology.)


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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:09 pm   7 comments


At 1:33 pm, Anonymous RobertPlantFan said...

My best friend is a teacher. She tells me tales of kids who come in and behave badly about things, even to the point of THROWING A DESK at a teacher because she asked him to stop disrupting the class. And yet when the parent of the child was called in, the parent somehow thought it was the school's fault that the child was a chronic disruption. A lot of parents look at school as a "babysitting" service and you have all these people that think everybody should win to avoid "hurting their feelings". Personally, I think getting your feelings hurt and yes, FAILING sometimes, are part of a learning process. This sense of entitlement is so out of hand, and this attitude by the students in the article is typical. The mentality is that you start at the top and work your way DOWN. They've lost sight of the fact that life is the other way around. They'll be in for a big shock when they get into the "real world" I fear.

At 1:50 pm, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Oh, Blue; don't EVEN go there with me.

I am currently teaching a public speaking / effective communication class at Tiny Community College. I have 17 students and, in the six weeks class has been in session, I've never had all 17 at once. Fully nine of them are failing outright, and two of those who are passing are in danger of failing with grades hovering around a D. I don't get homework with anything approaching regularity and, when they DO pass it in, it's abysmal (I've got one kid who I swear has some form of dysphasia. How he's made it this far is quite beyond me).

It all boils down to this; I'm a great teacher - a fantastic teacher, even. I LOVE my work, I love my students, and I want to see everyone succeed. Having said that, whether or not a student succeeds is NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY. I do MY job - I show up, I prepare interesting and relevant lesson plans, I design meaningful and attainable assessments. If my students choose not to take advantage of that, that is their choice.

It still burns me, though, that they DO make that choice, and far more often than those outside of the classroom would realize...

At 3:58 am, Blogger moonduster said...

There was an article here about how employers were struggling to find good workers from recent graduates because they all had a sense of entitlement. They weren't willing to start at the bottom and expected to earn money for little to no work effort.

Parents are definitely falling down on the job!

At 4:02 am, Blogger moonduster said...

Oh and as for getting trophies whether their team wins or not - I was surprised by that when my older three joined AYSO soccer. When I was kid, I played soccer through AYSO too, but we only got trophies if we won.

When you get a trophy either way, it cheapens winning and the effort put in to be one of the winners.

At 6:04 pm, Blogger Kathy Harrison Fuller said...

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At 6:08 pm, Blogger Kathy Harrison Fuller said...

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At 6:10 pm, Blogger Kathy Harrison Fuller said...

Blue, I love that you are blogging about this. I am a teacher and a small business owner and I am in awe. I have never felt so "old fashioned" - but I have heard that, "I just don't understand the challenges that students today face."
The article was in the Wall Street Journal, "The 'Trophy Kids' Go to Work"


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