February 03, 2005

You want to apologise for WHAT?

Sometimes I really struggle to maintain a polite helpful facade for students, against a strong urge to let my mouth fall open in sheer disbelief.

Case in point: today this student comes up to me and says that she owes me an apology. "What for?" say I, wondering whether she's about to apologise for taking up a lot of my time consulting me last year, maybe? Or maybe she's realised that her accusation that I set an unfair exam - the exam had some questions on the last third of the course, which she hadn't revised, and she thought that was unfair - was unjustified.

No, neither of these. She wanted to apologise for thinking that I was a harsh marker. No apology necessary, actually, I prefer to think of myself as "fair but firm", but that probably translates to "harsh" in student-speak, so I'm happy to be thought a harsh marker, but why in the world did she now think that I wasn't?

It turns out that this is because she managed to scrape a pass in last year's course, and she thought that she didn't deserve this, so she deduced that I must have gone easy on her, I must have raised her mark a bit.

Raised her mark a bit?!?!!!!!!! What, she thinks I slipped her a few marks on the side? While half of my mind was busy being hornswoggled and very offended at the accusation, the other half managed to operate the old jaw-and-tongue mechanism, to very firmly tell the student that every single mark of that was hers.

I don't know why I'm so surprised, though. Students frequently take the view that they deserve more marks that they actually got and the lecturer was being too harsh, why not have the contrary situation too?


Post a Comment

<< Home