May 23, 2007

What I'd Like To Say To Whining Students

I’ve got a lot of students in my online classes who aren’t getting good grades. Of course, this is somehow my fault, and for three days now, they’ve been whining about it like excited kindergartners being told there is no more ice cream. What I want to say to them I never will, of course, but it would go something like this:

I don’t particularly care about you. I don’t dislike you, but I don’t like you, either. Liking or disliking you would involve caring about you, which I don’t.

You mean exactly one thing to me. I get just under one thousand dollars in exchange for five weeks of answering your questions about the subject matter of the class, and grading your tests. Whether you get an A or an F, I get paid the same amount of money.

I’m not going to sadistically give you an F, because that would involve caring enough about you to take the time to be a sadist. But by the same token, I'm not going to benevolently give you an A, because that would involve caring enough about you to be benevolent.

If you got all A’s in previous classes, good for you. Your performance in a past class is irrelevant to your performance in this class. Apparently, you aren’t getting an A in this class.

I don’t write the objective test questions. Those are written by the authors of the textbook. I use their questions to determine if you’ve read the textbook and understand the material. I do this because I am required to in order to earn my money. You either answer the questions right, or you don’t.

I don’t care that your job and family cut in to the time that you would otherwise have available to study. You’ve made the decision to go to college, and college-level work is expected of you here. Study, or not; I don’t give a damn. I work, too. I have a family, too. Somehow, I find the time to do what is required of me in this class. You either will do what you need to do to excel, or you won’t. Whether you do or not is of no moment to me.

It is not my job to give you an A because you’ve paid tuition. That tuition money has bought you the opportunity to earn a grade. It has not bought the grade itself.

It is not my job to give you an A because you’re a nice person or bad things have happened to you recently or you really need a high grade for some financial or career advancement reason. I don’t know whether those things are true or not, and I don’t care.

In fact, it is not my job to give you an A at all. It is your job to earn it and maybe you haven’t earned it. Like I said before, I simply don’t care.

I don’t care if you graduate or not.

Now, don’t expect my indifference to mean that I’m willing to lie to the University about your performance, because I won’t. That would involve caring about your grade.

If you don’t like it, you can re-take this class when it is taught by another instructor. Or not. I really don’t care.

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