I finally got my grade for discussion leading last week. I have been stressing out all week over it, and I’ve been checking the grading website obsessively. I think it’s so great that instructors have the ability to post grades online. I like to be able to check my progress as class progresses, so I think it’s a fabulous tool! However, it’s only as good as the information instructors post. If they post grades in a timely manner, it’s awesome; if they don’t, then not so much. Grades for last week’s assignments weren’t posted until about four o’clock yesterday, which is an hour and a half before class starts! I realized a couple days ago that, because you can check yourself against the progress of the class for each assignment listed, the instructor probably purposely waited to post our discussion leading grade because we were the first (and only) group to go last week, so she didn’t want everyone else knowing our grade.
I am so thrilled to say that we (I) got an A! The grading sheet had nine different items that were graded. There was a strength column and a weakness column next to these items with a line in each column corresponding to each of the nine items. The instructor had put an x at the top of the strength column and drew a line all the way down through the rest of the spaces in the column, so there was nothing in the weakness column. Her comments were as follows: “This was an exceptional presentation in every way—you provided a thoughtful and complex analysis of the essay and photograph and you raised engaging and provocative questions. Well done!” Then, at the grade area at the bottom of the sheet, there was an A. That’s definitely an A for effort, because I did put a lot of work into it, but it’s mostly an A for AWESOME!!!! I was, and still am, giddy! 10% of my grade is complete, and it’s an A! I could’ve suspected as much from the instructor’s comments in class last week, but as I said then, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. The closer we got to class this week without last week’s grades having been posted online, the more doubt crept in that perhaps we hadn’t gotten an A after all. I was beginning to get used to the idea that a B wouldn’t be so bad. Thankfully, I didn’t have to settle for a B. I earned that A, and I’m proud of it!!!
The instructor had asked me to share the grading sheet with my partner when she got to class, which I did. Partner looked at it for all of a few seconds and then handed it back to me. When we were about to go on break, partner asked if she could have the sheet back for a minute because she wanted to make a photocopy of it. As I was looking for it among all the things I’d just put away, she said, “Was that the grade you were hoping for?” I looked at her as though she’d grown five heads. I didn’t know how to respond. Doesn’t everyone hope for an A? Isn’t the goal usually to do the best job you possibly can, or at the very least, to get appropriate credit for working hard? I almost said, “Actually, no. I’m average, so my grades should be too. I would’ve been much more comfortable with a C.” I mean really. Come on now. What I actually said was, “I’m pretty pleased with it! Aren’t you?!?!” She didn’t really say much. I wondered if the reason she was going to make a photocopy of the grading sheet was because it was her first A ever in her whole entire life, and she wanted to go home and hang it on the refrigerator.
Then it became very clear to me that our partnership never in a million years would’ve been a successful one. Though partner appears to be a female approximately 35 years of age, she is in all reality an alien. The reason our partnership didn’t work so well was because of the inevitable miscommunication that occurs whenever different species try to interact. I didn’t understand the indifferent slacker work ethic of the alien while she didn’t understand my take charge, work hard attitude. I wish she would’ve at least given me some kind of sign of this difference between us. At least then I would’ve known what I was working with, and I wouldn’t have taken our failed partnership so personally.
At any point, I’m glad my (not that I'm keeping track) hard work paid off. I’m glad that, despite the fact that we had no example to go by, we (I) ended up pulling off a great presentation. I’m not glad that my classmates do not seem to have understood what the instructor meant last week when she said that we had set the bar high. Two out of the three discussions yesterday were excruciating, to say the least…
Pair one talked about the anti-drug campaign. Within fifteen minutes of them starting their presentation, I desperately began to think up possible scenarios to put myself out of my misery. Literally every other “word” the woman said was “ummm” or “ahhh” or “errr.” It was hell. We all do it sometimes; I know that. We all let those um’s and ah’s sneak in instead of letting silence hang as we formulate our next words. I’ve found that, if you know your topic well enough, there is less of a chance of this happening; once you get on a roll, you can talk continuously about the topic. Apparently Miss UmmAhh wasn’t aware of this. It seemed as though she had just figured out when she arrived at class yesterday that she and her partner had a presentation to give and discussion to lead. It became very clear that she wasn’t exactly well prepared when she informed us that, because meth production has gotten so bad, acetaminophen was removed from over the counter sales and can only be purchased from a pharmacist now. That’s quite obviously wrong, since you can walk into any pharmacy, retail, or grocery store to buy Tylenol. What you cannot buy over the counter anymore is pseudoephedrine, or “real” Sudafed.
Pair two talked about gender roles and how children determine and decide on how to act according to their gender. Discussion revolved around how adults influence children, how toys and toy commercials (think Barbie) influence children, etc. They actually did a pretty good job, and we had an interesting class discussion. The only problem I had was that they distributed a handout that was clearly just printed off of a website, so it wasn’t their own work, and they didn’t refer to it once throughout their whole presentation. It was like they saw the part on the direction sheet that said “handouts are encouraged” and decided they had to have one to get a higher grade. Their handouts were two pages on two separate sheets of paper. If they were going to waste paper, they could’ve at least just wasted one sheet per person by doing the handout as a double sided sheet. I judge them for killing more trees than were necessary in the hopes that it would get them a better grade.
Pair three was on a tight schedule. The instructor had told them class was running out of time and that they had 25 minutes to get everything said, discussed, and wrapped up. Most people would be grateful for this, I would think. I would also think it would compel you to get through your portion of the presentation quickly so that you could open up the class discussion and be done. Unfortunately, one of the women in this pair was the “my life is so interesting everyone wants to hear every stupid minute detail about it” type. (Says the girl who writes a blog; don’t worry, the hypocrisy isn’t lost on me. At least you, dear reader, get a choice in the matter. You have the ability to ignore the stupid minute details of my life, because you are not being forced to read this blog.) The topic of the discussion was how to write a catchy beer ad. Ms “my life is interesting” decided to regale us with stories of working in the marketing industry. She had apparently done a stint at a market research firm and decided we all need the intricate details of demographics, target markets, focus groups, etc. It became clear later on that she was just regurgitating the big words she’d heard while working at this firm; not only because the stuff she was saying was stuff that was pretty much common knowledge, but also because when someone asked her later on what the target market for the three beer commercials they’d shown were, she stumbled around for an answer that clearly wasn’t right.
Lest you think I’m being smug about my A and unreasonably bitchy and judgey* regarding the performance of my classmates, I need to tell you that many of my classmates seemed to share my opinion. I had people leaning over and whispering to me during the first presentation saying things like, “You guys did really good last week.” (And because they were complimenting me, I resisted the urge to correct them, because even politely saying "really well" could've been misconstrued as rude.) During the class break, others were talking about how excruciating the first presentation had been and were reminding me that my partner and I kicked butt last week. So while I might have been bitchy and judgey in this blog, it was not without cause. Oh, and it’s kinda who I am, and I accept that about me. Hopefully you can too.
* Yes, I know judgey isn't a "real" word; however, I think it should be, because it is appropriate in so many situations.
What’s up, weekend 4/28
13 hours ago