Sunday, November 22, 2009

B for Bitter

NOTE:  I started writing this blog on Monday, November 16. I was then struck down with a wicked bad sinus infection, which delayed the completion of the blog. I mention this, dear reader, as a frame of reference; you were actually meant to read this at around the beginning of this past week.

Remember how I told you all about how I worked my ass off on discussion leading a couple of weeks ago and how blissfully happy I was that my efforts were rewarded with an A? Well, that A is now tainted. Why? Because all discussion leaders from last week got A’s as well. Yes, even the one who “ummmed” and “ahhhhhed” her way through and gave incorrect information. I am livid. If I would’ve known that it was that easy to get an A for the assignment, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time and energy working on it, and I most certainly wouldn’t have paid $22 to get color copies of handouts made for the class. It’s seriously ridiculous. Especially when the instruction sheet says, “Better Than the Average Bear: If you want an exceptional grade (B+ or better), you need to go the extra mile and help your classmates understand the multiple perspectives of your topic. Be creative with the visual aids you provide. Handouts and overheads can also be useful in discussion leading.” At least two of the groups from last week did not meet these criteria, and yet, they still got an exceptional grade. Go figure.

I’ve lost quite a bit of respect for this instructor and do not feel as though I can take her seriously anymore. I am still going to do what I need to in the hopes that I’ll earn an A in the class, but I’m jaded, and I’m frustrated, and I’m pissed. It just really sucks that, once again, the overachiever gets the shaft while the people who never give more than 100% (if that) glide by. 

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse…I found out in class on Tuesday (November 17) that one can get a C or D on all three big essays and still get an A for the class. W.T.F?!?!?!  I just don’t get this instructor. I don’t understand the point of making us bother with big essays if they end up not meaning much in the end, and I most certainly don’t understand why you would reveal to the class that essays can be subpar and the student can still pull a good grade in the class. I almost want to slack off for the last big essay, because I think it’s ridiculous that we’re required to use six sources for a 3-4 page paper and only one of those sources can be the internet; two of the sources have to be from some type of scholarly journal. If I’m citing six sources in one 3-4 page paper, the majority of the paper isn’t going to be in my own words anyway—it’s gonna be quotes and paraphrases from the six sources I have to use. I fear, however, that the instructor is using our first essays as a benchmark for the next two and that she’s going to use that benchmark to grade us on our own individual abilities. So, because I am good, I will be expected to be great or better going forward. Since I got an A on the first essay, if I were to suddenly do C or D level work on the third essay, she’d know it wasn’t my usual quality of work and might grade my paper more harshly.

I just hate this class now and can’t wait for it to be over. I mean, I reeeeeeeeeally HATE it.  In class on Tuesday, we had to do peer feedback for our second essay. Peer feedback involves giving a draft of your essay to two of your classmates for them to review and give input. We’re then supposed to take that feedback into consideration as we complete the final essay, which is due a week later (in this case, essay two is due on the 24th). For our first essay, we got to pick our feedback partners; for this peer review session, we did not. The instructor created groups for us to work with, and within a few minutes of meeting with my two group members, I understood why. They were C and D level writers. The instructor must have decided that I, as the A level writer, could give them a lot of good feedback, which I think I did—I mean, I practically rewrote their papers for them! However, the feedback I received was minimal. Both group members told me that my paper was awesome and that they loved some of my word choices. (I used big words like extol and propensity.) The only piece of actual advice I got was to consider moving a paragraph or two to make the paper flow better. 

Not to sound elitist, but based on my performance versus my classmates in my last class and in this current class, I am clearly far too advanced for community college. I really wish instructors and school teachers and everyone else in the world of education would realize that coddling students and giving everyone who puts forth even the slightest bit of effort a good grade does no one any good at all. All it does is reinforce the entitlement mentality that is so prevalent in our society today. People continue to expect something for nothing, believing they should have to put forth as little effort as possible to get what they want out of life. Students are being taught that putting in the tiniest bit of effort is enough. It’s perfectly acceptable to shoot for the trash can if the stars seem too far away. It’s ridiculous and it’s sad.

The lesson I’ve learned from all of this is that I should perhaps lower my expectations of myself. I shouldn’t push myself so hard. I mean, why should I bother stressing over classes and pushing myself to give 110% or more when really I could probably give about 80% and still exceed my “peers”? It’s really disheartening, and I think it’s bullshit. Only four classes and one big essay left. This sinus infection has set me back a bit though, so I had to work my ass off on homework last night. I still haven’t even started my Interpersonal Communications competency, which needs to be completed by December 5. I’m really not too worried about it anymore though. If the one girl in my peer feedback managed to pass it, meaning she wrote a decent enough 4-8 page paper, then I most certainly am capable of writing a passable paper within a couple weekends.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I don't blame you for being angry about this class. That's just ridiculous!

    - Also an adult learner


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