(Today I decided to completely ignore the prompt and do my own thang.)
At the school I’m student teaching at, the marking period ends this week. That means I’ve been having a lot of discussions about grades.
I recall the end of the marking period always being chaotic when I was growing up, specifically in high school. Teachers were cramming all sorts of assessments in before the closing date, students were complaining, and I remembered hating more than one teacher who decided to throw in a test to destroy my perfectly acceptable average at the last possible minute. For me, this usually happened in math class. I was convinced the teachers had something against me, although I wasn’t sure what.
Now that I’m teaching, I totally get it.
The end of the marking period blows. Students have so many assignments to make up. There are assignments you forgot you assigned, or, worse, promised extra credit points that you don’t know how to work into your grading system. If you have a lot of students failing, it’s only natural to want to help them by assigning more assignments worth quiz grades. Some students appreciate this and raise you to a God-like status. Other students, like high-school math me, think you’re out to get them and decide to mutter incomprehensible phrases under their breaths that probably mean something I shouldn’t be writing here.
There are also students who decide to make it their mission to convince you to raise them from a D to a B+ no matter what. THEY WILL NOT RELENT. In fact, they will fake tears, claim you’re the one holding them back from honor role (too bad you forget I have access to your transcript!), and promise to do better next marking period when, in reality, they’ll probably just make the same mistakes, goof off, and rinse and repeat this cycle again at the end the next marking period.
Come to think of it, I really should send my high school teachers bottles of wine…particularly my math teachers. I definitely didn’t deserve to pass math my senior year of high school, yet my Calculus teacher gave me a C- every marking period, even when the numbers didn’t add up. I was really grateful for his pity, even though the cool thing was to act like I hated him in class. Now, I get it. In fact, it’s really hard not to pity my students and randomly raise their grades. I’m experiencing a combination of just wanting to shut them up mixed with wanting them to succeed. However, they won’t learn how to work hard and be responsible if I just help them out. I’ll suffer through the whining and false-crying for the next few days, and be grateful that Thanksgiving break (and a new marking period) is just around the corner.