Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fall Semester vs. Freshmen

  1. Last night I received an email from a student who apologized for missing the test. He explained why he missed the test and insisted that he didn't want any special treatment. He swore that he would be in class today. This morning, about a half hour before class, I wrote back telling him that my records show that he has been absent from class TWENTY-SEVEN times this semester and that this does not predict success. I told him that he is very far behind and that he will have to devote himself full-time to calculus if he expects to pass. He wasn't in class this morning.

  2. A student who is used to doing well in school but who has been suffering all sorts of personal crises (many of them health related) and who has been either absent or else present but sleeping for the past three weeks is frustrated that the homework does not make sense. ("I read the book!" my student whines in exasperation. My thought: If you could just read all about it in the book, we wouldn't need class, would we?) This student is also upset that I can not re-explain all the material covered in the homework in a few minutes before class.

  3. My calculus students want to know their grades. I will oblige them because it gives me a chance to find any clerical errors in my spreadsheet before the semester is over. My grading system is simple: points is points. Nothing is weighted. Just add up all your points on the assignments and compare your total against the chart in the syllabus. The last-chance-late-drop deadline is in under a week.