Monday, August 02, 2010

advice for the undergrad on the C grade

one day last week, i had a rather interesting chat whilst on a popular medieval fantasy MMORPG (bet you can figure out which one). as i got pwnd just outside the Westpark Workshop the conversation turned to how to decide whether or not to go to grad school. in itself an excellent question and posed in quite an interesting social venue.

that being said, the one thing that has stayed with me is a curious intricacy of my friend's timetable. my friend has to take a dreaded freshman course during senior year. it is one those 'prep' courses where i believe you only get 1 credit and you have to listen to different speakers every week and do a fair amount of composition. the issue is that m friend put it off, but the class is a requirement. no exceptions.
"When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave."
or recieve a BFA as it is.

i am curious as to what the reaction from my teaching colleagues will be to the advice i freely offered. i told my friend to be blunt and honest with the professor.
i am a senior, i am here to fulfill the requirement, and i want XX for the grade.
i find it liberating to have a student say "I want to get a C, that is my objective." i know right from that moment the amount of time to expect that this person will put forward and i know the amount of time i should spend on counseling the student. the goals are clear.

one thing that i learned from the past year is that while teaching undergrads at the state level, i will be extraordinarily lucky if 15% of my students want to pursue 'my type' of career in the fine arts. i will still require myself to teach at a high level, the work will still be geared to the para-professional who truly wants this as their career. the damned fact is: that it is hard to be in this profession. so if a student sets the goal with me and they want to try to hit 85% of the material with some aptitude, well hell yeah let's hit it. a C shows aptitude, not mastery and it is a fine grade. however, if you want a professional mark then step to it.

hmmm, what do you other college teacher types think?

1 comment:

  1. Show up for class, turn in all proposals, drafts, and projects on time and you can probably coast with a B. With exceptional mediocrity I guess it could be a C.

    I know the class of which you speak and the teacher is a good guy. I also know the adviser and if it is a 1 credit class there may be alternatives.