December 11, 2010

Final grades

Yesterday, as I turned in my grades for the semester, a familiar feeling of relief and satisfaction came over me. It means I have a couple weeks of vacation, which is nice, but also, it means that it's the end of my time with a few dozen students. a real escargot - paris, 2009Fifteen weeks ago, they were dreadful - not lost causes, just very unpolished. And now, after several months of hard work, their written and spoken French has improved incredibly. They've put in a lot of hard work, and their efforts have more than paid off.

It's really interesting to be on this side of the academic process. I was always the student who sent e-mails to professors, asking how I did. Now, as the recipient of dozens of similar e-mails, I find myself frustrated and overwhelmed. No one wonders about their grades for fifteen weeks, but in the thirty-six hours before grades are due, I get a dozen nearly identical e-mails, with small variations on the same themes:
"Mademoiselle, is there any chance you can tell me what the exact grade I need to get on the final to get a B in the class?"

"As far as my progress in the course, is it still possible to receive an A at the end of the semester?"

"I was hoping you'd be able to give me an idea ... I'm just really hoping I could receive a B in this course."
The thing is, everything that they submit gets graded and handed back to them, so with the exception of how they did on their final exams and an exact figure for class participation, they know how they did in the class.

I don't quite understand the panic - if you had received A's and B's on every exam, had come to class and participated every day, and had turned in your written assignments, how could you possibly think you'd fail the class? Even if you bombed the final, the worst you could do was a C, and even that sounds low! I'm a very fair grader, and no one has ever questioned a grade I have given - if you submit average quality work, you will see those efforts met with an appropriate grade. And likewise, if you go above and beyond and try your absolute hardest, of course your grade will reflect that.

I'm trying to keep this thought process in mind as I embark on a few scale-free weeks. I'm going to work hard and do the best job that I can for the rest of the month, because that is all that I can do. And in the end, after all my efforts, even if I can't quote an exact number, I should know generally how I have done. Doing the bare minimum or less will not magically produce high marks; putting in a solid, consistent effort cannot equal failure.


Tim said...

I think you're spot on there. As long as you know you've tried your best and given your all then you'll know that you will have a great chance of getting the results you want.

Congratulations on finishing the term. Enjoy your well deserved vacation!

Ann (-42 lbs in -60 lb challenge) said...

Exactement, Mlle. Bon dit.

Amy said...

That's definitely a great way of putting it! I watch the Biggest Loser and next week is the finale, and last week was the episode where it had been 6 weeks since a weigh-in an before they stepped on the scale, the host would ask how they felt they did, and one or two of them had said they weren't sure... and my boyfriend said, "with $250,000 on the line the answer should be the best they could have done, so that if they failed, they knew they did the best they could do"... and it definitely made me think. I haven't been doing that, but at the end of the day you can't be disappointed in your results if you didn't try your hardest. If you try your hardest... your results are the amount of great word, and no matter what - you should be proud!

fatgirlwearingthin said...

Good attitude to take on the holiday season. Don't stress; do what you can; enjoy what you have. I do think it's possible to have huge success in the weight loss dept. if you do nothing but torture yourself. Seeing everything as 'off limits' is enough to wear on the mind and make us feel even more like we're 'different from other people'. You know exactly what you have to do to get the outcome you want because you've shown yourself that you can do it - you are doing it. You'll be fine, Mary. Have a wonderful vacation, and Merry Christmas!

Jessica said...

Great way of thinking!