"This is not grade school; there are no effort marks" seems like a bad response...
December 6, 2011 8:04 PM Subscribe
Teachers & Academics: what are your tricks for dealing with difficult / entitled students?
posted by MouseOfHouseofAnony to human relations (36 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a tutor at the college level in North America. I get a handful of students that come to me after a test or essay, complaining about their mark. (It's not always the same students.) I hear such things as "I get good marks in other courses, why did I fail this?" or "I tried really hard on that essay" or "My friend read it and said it was good!". And obviously these things are not factors that actually impact the quality of work on the current test/paper, but these are the things I hear.
The stuff that's actually wrong with their assignments / test answers usually involves a lack of clarity in explanation, insufficient detail, not including something critical, lack of logic or coherence, or out right incorrect statements. I include lots of feedback on tests/assignments, so it's not like these students don't know why I docked them marks.
But still, they come a-knocking. They want a better grade. They're not prepared to defend why, other than "I worked really hard!" or "I pretty much said the same thing, it's close enough!". A lot of these students are ESL, which I'm sympathetic to. Ours is a fully English university, with writing / language resources available for free, but the assignments do require a high level of English ability. (I do think this is a reasonable requirement for earning a North-American post-secondary degree in our field though.)
I feel old and crotchety. I see this as a ridiculous sense of entitlement. But I don't want to feel this way. I think these are overall decent kids, and I want to believe they genuinely want to learn and improve. But I'm also not willing to budge and give them more marks, because I feel it's unfair to the students who DID get the point of the assignment/test, and that ... well, that it's just not right for them to get a better grade just because they came and whined.
So please help. How do I deal with these students and still keep my cool? What do I say to them to basically re-iterate what I've already written in their assignments, and get it to stick? How do I respond to these "but I tried!!!" kinds of comments, kindly and politely? How do I restructure my instinctive "are you fucking kidding me?!" mentality when they come with their requests, and stop seeing them as entitled brats?