Tight Shirts and the Complainer

Two things from the last week:

  • Very tight T-shirts seem to have become de rigeur on campus. I don’t know if it’s the weather, or whether these young ladies are thinking that wearing T-shirts that show off their chests will help “push-up” their grades slightly (uh, terrible pun), but I have noticed that all of a sudden, show-offy T-shirts are being worn by just about anyone who feels she has something to show off. (The other young women are still in princess garb and plainer, baggier clothes.) It’s not working, by the way. I am nothing if not scrupulously fair in grading; but it might have worked if they’d gone for the strategy a few weeks ago, when they stood a better chance of distracting their male classmates whilst they were working on their final projects. It’ll still work in their other classes, I guess, where they have exams looming ahead.
  • There was one student who I worried about, having noted that final projects loomed, she began to turn into a grading rules-lawyer, complaining that others weren’t being graded in a fair way or whatever. I actually noted this a few times; but the student I worried about accepted her project grades, and the potential that a grading curve issue might bump her down to a B+ in one class, very graciously. Meanwhile, I guy whose writing is, I’ll generously say, on the level of a C or a D+ (C- or D+ in North American terms), is getting a B+ because of his very steady and respectable efforts to practice and apply himself. And yet, in the face of this, he is still obsessing about others’ marks in comparison to his, and complaining that some students didn’t blog as ardently as he did — even though he’s getting the TOP grade in the class in terms of blogging.

    Finally, I had to tell him that his writing ability was more like a C level, and that the blog was what let him have a B+, and that he should be happy with that. I mean, one can’t hand out A+ to anyone just for trying, can one? The man still cannot write, or speak, English at a reasonable level, unlike most of his less-disciplined classmates, and he is, because of his dedicated work, getting a better grade than several of his classmates who are much better writers than he is.

What I said to one class today summed it up: “Look, guys, if you think I made a mistake or was unfair in my assessment of your writing, please bring it up. I do make mistakes sometimes! But if you are going to sit and compare grades to one another, please remember: I spent a significant amount of time making sure I was fair in my assessment, and I didn’t just assign grades randomly. Read all the comments and look through your essays for what I discuss in them, before you dispute a mark. Okay?”

Two students raised the issue; one was correct — I’d accidentally deducted a small bit of her grade for no reason I could find when looking over her essay again, and I corrected the grade. The other student nodded in agreement when I showed her where the thing was that I was talking about, and took it gracefully.

I also have quite explicitly explained to my two writing classes exactly what the grading curve means for them, and that I don’t like the system but am required to use it. I therefore expect very little in the way of contested grades.

Now, I have a ton of stuff to do. But I should sum up:


  • 50-odd essays for my elementary composition courses
  • Most of the presentations in my Public Speaking class, with the exception of 2 on Monday.
  • recopying of attedance records for 3 of my classes


  • grading the 15 final essays for my Advanced English Comp class
  • grading the 15 final projects in my Media English course
  • calculation of blog marks for my writing classes (to be done from Monday, noon, onward)
  • application of participation grades in several classes
  • recopying the attendance records in two of my classes
  • application of the grading curve to my Elementary Composition course grades

I still have a lot to do, but the deeply concentrated, crazy workload part of the end of semester is actually over for me. I will probably get most of the grading done over the weekend, and next week I’ll finalize grades, get paperwork done, and print out gradesheets. Only the first two pips on the to-do list are really demanding, and I have three full weekend days to get them done, let alone the various days during the week next week.

2 thoughts on “Tight Shirts and the Complainer

  1. Heh, thanks Adam, I needed that.

    You know, there’s a precedent. The person I’m replacing actually photographed her students, on the first day, without their permission. But I wouldn’t want to repeat her performance. Oh, the stories I’ve heard…

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