Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The End Is Near

  1. Yesterday, about two hours before the deadline for the absolute-last-chance-withdrawl (an option available for passing students only), I got an email from a student who hasn't been to class since February 23 (and who has only attended three or four days TOTAL and who has not handed in ANY work) asking me to sign his form. Writes my student in one giant stream of consciousness run-on sentence: "My name is Stu Dent an I am enrolled in your Math 095 class MWF at 8:00 and I would like to drop the class with a W due to family problems with my grandparents I am sorry I have done this early but I am not real sure how I do someone told me I should talk to you thanks for you help in advance." My response: a longer and more diplomatic version of: "No." The guy's a freakin' junior.

  2. A guy who wants to "get at least a B" in my class contacted me and decided to come to my office hours so that we could go over everything from the last test and talk about everything from Chapter 5. Why doesn't he know much about Chapter 5? He was out of town "helping" one of our athletic teams. Our athletic department feeds on paperwork even more than the federal government, and I have not seen a shred of evidence that his "help" was in any way officially sanctioned by the team. When we were going over the exam, it was extremely clear to me that he didn't know what the words mean; I also suspect that he might have trouble reading the questions. One question on the exam asked the students to sketch a simple, polygonal, closed curve that is not a regular polygon. He drew a shape that was not a simple, polygonal, closed curve. After I explained the question and its answer, he said, "I thought you were asking about this" and pointed to a problem we did in class where we drew pictures of shapes that were not simple, polygonal, closed curves. On the problem where the students were asked how to modify a given rectangle to make it Golden, he used the Pythagorean Theorem to find the length of its diagonal; he pointed to a practice problem where we found the length of a diagonal of a rectangle and said, "I thought you were asking this." For him to get a B, he'll need nearly perfect scores on all the rest of the tests and assignments.

  3. A calculus student with a D average promises me that he will get As on everything else this semester. I'll believe it when I see it.