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hashslinger last won the day on May 4 2014

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  1. Yes. And when you make students meet with you in person to discuss grades, they're usually less likely to "go off" or argue with you anyway. Most people do not like to argue with their teachers in person. I did have one guy who went off on me a long, long time ago when I first started teaching, and it was after 24 hours had already passed. (He accused me, among other things, of keeping him out of medical school--apparently the B- he got on a paper had a chilling effect on his potential to make it in the medical field.) But by and large students tend to get more upset over email where they
  2. I know a lot of people who implement the "24 hour rule." If it works for someone, then more power to them. But I'm personally not a huge fan of it. There's what you're saying and then what they're hearing. You're saying that they need to cool down for 24 hours (for their protection more than anything); they're hearing that they did terrible on this test or exam--so badly that they might not be able to control themselves. They're also hearing that YOU are the one who they will obviously be angry with because you have that kind of power. They're hearing that you're the antagonist, not the impart
  3. I loved in Columbus before going elsewhere for graduate school, and I thought the city actually had a sizable population of Muslims for the Midwest. I know that it's got the #2 population of Somalis in the US (#1 is Minneapolis). So it's not all that unusual to see women walking around with the hijab. Certain neighborhoods, of course, are going to be more accepting than others. Anywhere close to campus you'll find people who are more tolerant and accepting--large LGBT population, international population, etc. You go farther out to the suburbs and you're also largely okay. You go farther o
  4. You need to talk to your professors and your DGS as soon as possible. One B sounds like bad luck; two B's sound like a problem; three could mean that they're trying to get rid of you. But only you can figure this out for sure. The general understanding is that a B is not a good grade if you're in graduate English coursework, but this can vary from professor to professor. I had a professor one time who relished giving "honest" grades, but she was very much the exception. Since you're only in your first year, you might be able to turn this around. But you absolutely must talk to the peop
  5. Have to agree with klondike and TakeruK. I don't think it's necessarily weird or bad that quizzes/participation are worth 30%; it's weird that 30% of the student's grade is tied to the practice of self-evaluation. Now his question of "were the quizzes graded?" makes much more sense.
  6. This is absolutely true for some universities--namely mine, which is a huge research institution. Even in a "teaching heavy" discipline, we have hired several people in the last few years who have maybe one semester of experience teaching their own class. Teaching portfolios were never requested. Evaluations were never requested. (Most of the people at my institution don't really think evaluations say anything about someone's teaching.) Research trumped all. Ironically, those of us who graduate from this same institution have A LOT of teaching experience--by the end of our second year, I'd
  7. The quizzes were worth 30%, though. That's a significant assignment. Not doing them, in this situation, seems like it would the equivalent of not turning in a major paper or showing up for a final. So that's how I would look at this: the student didn't complete a major course requirement. Changing the weight of participation grade after the fact seems unfair to the students who DID do the quizzes. Even if the percentage breakdown seems to give too much weight to the quizzes over other forms of participation (and I'm not saying it does), it would be unwise to make a major change like that
  8. Well, not to be too flippant, but what did he think the quizzes were for? Your own personal entertainment? He evidently knew they existed. The other students did them, so you know the failure wasn't related to your instructions or syllabus. This sounds like an unfortunate situation, but you can't really do anything at this point. He came to you too late. In your reply to him, i would emphasize that. I would say that he was responsible for his own grade and that the other students had no issues with completing the quizzes on time. It is basically his fault that he wasn't able to follow
  9. I think this sums it up quite well. It's really unprofessional to gossip about another TA, even if you know for a fact that they have conducted themselves unethically. It's one thing to ask casually, "What ever happened to Mr. Smith? I haven't seen him lately." It's another thing to roll up and ask about someone's cheating or academic misconduct, especially if you're privy to the information because you were the other TA in the course. At my school, we also aren't allowed to discuss a student's plagiarism case (or its outcome) because of privacy issues. I assume that TAs, as students, are prot
  10. It's not, but one can't really draw any conclusions based on his presence. We typically don't punish people publicly in academia, and often times "first time" offenders get off with no more than a warning. If Mr. Smith has been mum about it, and his adviser hasn't said anything, then you can't know if he's been sanctioned. His presence in the department might indeed indicate that the matter was swept under the rug. Or it could indicate that the professor and the chair were satisfied with giving him a warning. Or it could indicate something else, that there wasn't enough evidence or something,
  11. You have no evidence that the professor did something wrong. You say "it seems" the professor "covered it up" in order to protect their own tenure situation and grad student. Where's your proof? Based on the language you're using here, I'd say you're just speculating. You are operating under the assumption that the professor is behaving unethically, and that might not be the case at all. For all you know, he or she has dealt with it with integrity and professionalism. Trust that they know what they're doing. Maybe the TA didn't get punished because he just made an error in judgment; maybe he i
  12. You're going to have bad days. You're going to have bad days a lot at first, but even after you've been teaching for 5 or 10 years, you're going to have bad days then, too. Just accept them and move on. Related to that, if your students don't like your class or your subject-matter (or even you), don't take it too personally. Remember that you're an "authority" figure in a required class, and that people don't really like authority figures or their "required" courses. (I know that nothing is really "required" in college, but students often perceive general ed classes as a chore.) More impor
  13. I think this is a good approach. But FWIW, I take a slightly different approach. I, personally, would not ever, ever change a grade I have already given unless I clearly miscalculated or overlooked something or made some obvious and quantifiable mistake. Grades are indeed subjective: I might assign a slightly different grade to a paper based on when I grade in relation to the other papers (before or after I've seen how other students completed the essay, for instance), and to obviate this issue I reconsider grades multiple times before returning the essays. But I do think we need to trust our
  14. I don't know what field you're in, so I'm not sure that this will be helpful, but I would tell you to approach your first chapter like it's a 20-page seminar paper. In other words, just sit down and write it. Just write it. It's going to be terrible. It's going to be bad. But no one can help you with it when it's still in your head. You have to produce SOMETHING in order to get to the stage where you can actually receive help on it.
  15. Yes, definitely, Depending on the level of the class I'm teaching, I spell that out, Unfortunately, explaining the technical reason for why something might be "awkward" is sometimes just as opaque to the student--they've got a misplaced modifier, the sentence is a run-on, the sentence is a fragment, the parallel structure is off, they're using a colloquial expression, they're not introducing quoted material in a grammatically sound way, etc. Sometimes these specific reasons for awkwardness are just as confusing for students if they don't have a grammar background. So it's still thei
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