Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teaching in the Gap

I had an epiphany today. Even though I teach undergraduates at a university, I am teaching to people with a completely different world view. When I was in school professors often opened the first day of class by explaining that everyone in the class was starting with a C and it was each student's choice to raise the grade to an A or B or let it fall to a D or E. You had to work hard to get a B and an A was going to just about kill you.

Now, my students are coming to me asking a very strange question: "How do I keep my A?" Um, what A?

It seems as though we are operating under two very different assumptions. I believe the A is there for them to earn. They believe it is theirs already and they must just maintain it. These assumptions are very different, especially in terms of the work ethic implied and the responsibilities of the professor and student.

What do you think? Am I just starting on my cranky old woman persona early (stay tuned next week when I get three cats and yell at kids to get off my lawn), or is this a legitimate gripe?


Numismatist Facts said...

pssst.. your genes are showing...

Casidub said...

I think you are absolutly right. These kids expect A's to be handed out for simply showing up alive.
A's are earned. If they want it..prove it. Don't just expect it.

Janell said...

In high school it was considered that on the first day of class everyone had 100% - and that meant everyone had an A. All one had to do was maintain something between a 95 and 100% on average to "maintain" the A. The thought that any child might be average and less than average was unbearable to the child's parents, the people who allocate funding to the school, and whatever entities monitor that education of the school.