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ritapita

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  1. Upvote
    ritapita got a reaction from turbidite in Professor ripped up my homework   
    I have an MFA, as well as teach at an institution, and I can tell you two things -
     
    #1 - ripping up work is something that needs to be addressed.  That should not happen, ever. There are major egomaniacs in the system, but even many of the worst of those just dish out condescending or insulting comments about a work, or talk down about other students. Most of that is unprofessional personality b.s. that won't change, regardless of the fact that it is tacky as hell.  Destroying a work is not acceptable.  Joke or no joke.  It sends a very bad message, and should be addressed.  If you feel uncomfortable confronting him about this, at the very least, put in a negative comment in your end of semester review of the course, and outline the situation.  Those are normally reviewed by administrators, and are also normally anonymous. 
     
    #2 - An MFA, although terminal, is still on much of a different level than a PhD. Regardless, you are not considered a colleague.  You will not be seen as having earned that until you graduate.  They will interact with you much differently than if you were an undergrad, and you will have more ability for input, etc. But you are there to learn, and they are there to guide/teach you.  What I generally advise my students applying to grad school is this:  In undergrad you learn the skills to base your art practice - the ways of making, and you begin to understand concept and context.  In grad school you will come in with the knowledge to create what you find your voice to be - the why's of making.  It takes time.  Your input from professors during your MFA will be much more about making work that reflects YOU.  You have a lot to learn still, let yourself be open to it rather than going in thinking you own a place at the table. You will find your professors to take issue with that, and they will behave in ways to put you in your place so to speak.  It happens a LOT.  I think many of us have done it.  Its part of the process.
  2. Upvote
    ritapita got a reaction from TakeruK in First Time Grading Fears   
    I grade about 400 students a semester on my own....yes shoot me now...  
     
    With that said... 
     
    rubric rubric rubric.  
    Make sure the rubric is clear and concise, easily available to students, and both you and your students refer to it often.  
     
    Consistency is key.  
    I have done the rotating grader thing and I personally feel this is less effective. Some will disagree. My perspective on this is that each grader or professor, while on the same page and even with similar styles, will grade differently.  If a student has the same grader for the whole semester, insights you give to that student will be better founded.  If insight and suggestions are made to a student that has a different grader each assignment or rotation, than improvements made may not be noticed or heeded by another grader and it will be harder to discern any improvement or shortfalls from the student. You will learn what you like.
     
    Own yourself in your position as a grader.  
    Your professor is trusting you with that, and you are expected to perform as their representative accordingly.  If you are passive in your grading your students WILL pick up on it, and that will make your job more difficult.
     
    Ask for feedback.  
    Each professor you work for will want something different.  You will learn quick to ask for clarification on what they expect from you.  It could be as simple as them not wanting you to provide feedback to students, timelines for grading etc, or very vague such as too much feedback or too little, or pen color, or whatever else that makes you pull your hair out.
     
    Provide feedback.  
    Your students need it most in the beginning of the semester so they know what to expect from you and how to improve.  You will shift your feedback as the semester progresses and towards the end it be less of what to expect, and more of what they missed improving on through your earlier suggestions.  Anything less than a perfect score on something should come with a clear reason of what they did to miss those points.  Vague feedback ca mean potentially running in to student confrontation.  
     
    Have thick skin.  
    You WILL have problem students.  You WILL have students that think an A- isn't fair.  You WILL have students that get horribly offended when you correct their grammar. You will get sick of grading short narratives or discussion board posts that are more text message than proper writing (ugh - my nightmare!!). You will have students love you and students hate you.  You will have professors love you and professors that you will never be able to please.
     
    Most importantly always be able to back up the grade you give.
    Inevitably you will need to defend a grade at some point. As a TA, you will have to defend it to a professor you work for, when an angry student heads their way.  As an instructor, you will have to defend it to your department head and in bad cases, possibly a dean. It may never happen, but most likely it will, and you will need to justify it.
     
    Its kind of funny because when we have been students for so long, you would think we would go into grading knowing what to do and how to be fair, but really it is very different.   You will get more confident the more grading you do.  You will learn a lot through grading, not just about grading and interacting with students, but also subject matter,  syllabus development, lecture techniques, etc etc etc.  Think of it as an active learning experience. It will help when you begin to take on your own classes. Have fun if you can.
  3. Upvote
    ritapita got a reaction from fuzzylogician in First Time Grading Fears   
    I grade about 400 students a semester on my own....yes shoot me now...  
     
    With that said... 
     
    rubric rubric rubric.  
    Make sure the rubric is clear and concise, easily available to students, and both you and your students refer to it often.  
     
    Consistency is key.  
    I have done the rotating grader thing and I personally feel this is less effective. Some will disagree. My perspective on this is that each grader or professor, while on the same page and even with similar styles, will grade differently.  If a student has the same grader for the whole semester, insights you give to that student will be better founded.  If insight and suggestions are made to a student that has a different grader each assignment or rotation, than improvements made may not be noticed or heeded by another grader and it will be harder to discern any improvement or shortfalls from the student. You will learn what you like.
     
    Own yourself in your position as a grader.  
    Your professor is trusting you with that, and you are expected to perform as their representative accordingly.  If you are passive in your grading your students WILL pick up on it, and that will make your job more difficult.
     
    Ask for feedback.  
    Each professor you work for will want something different.  You will learn quick to ask for clarification on what they expect from you.  It could be as simple as them not wanting you to provide feedback to students, timelines for grading etc, or very vague such as too much feedback or too little, or pen color, or whatever else that makes you pull your hair out.
     
    Provide feedback.  
    Your students need it most in the beginning of the semester so they know what to expect from you and how to improve.  You will shift your feedback as the semester progresses and towards the end it be less of what to expect, and more of what they missed improving on through your earlier suggestions.  Anything less than a perfect score on something should come with a clear reason of what they did to miss those points.  Vague feedback ca mean potentially running in to student confrontation.  
     
    Have thick skin.  
    You WILL have problem students.  You WILL have students that think an A- isn't fair.  You WILL have students that get horribly offended when you correct their grammar. You will get sick of grading short narratives or discussion board posts that are more text message than proper writing (ugh - my nightmare!!). You will have students love you and students hate you.  You will have professors love you and professors that you will never be able to please.
     
    Most importantly always be able to back up the grade you give.
    Inevitably you will need to defend a grade at some point. As a TA, you will have to defend it to a professor you work for, when an angry student heads their way.  As an instructor, you will have to defend it to your department head and in bad cases, possibly a dean. It may never happen, but most likely it will, and you will need to justify it.
     
    Its kind of funny because when we have been students for so long, you would think we would go into grading knowing what to do and how to be fair, but really it is very different.   You will get more confident the more grading you do.  You will learn a lot through grading, not just about grading and interacting with students, but also subject matter,  syllabus development, lecture techniques, etc etc etc.  Think of it as an active learning experience. It will help when you begin to take on your own classes. Have fun if you can.
  4. Upvote
    ritapita got a reaction from rising_star in First Time Grading Fears   
    I grade about 400 students a semester on my own....yes shoot me now...  
     
    With that said... 
     
    rubric rubric rubric.  
    Make sure the rubric is clear and concise, easily available to students, and both you and your students refer to it often.  
     
    Consistency is key.  
    I have done the rotating grader thing and I personally feel this is less effective. Some will disagree. My perspective on this is that each grader or professor, while on the same page and even with similar styles, will grade differently.  If a student has the same grader for the whole semester, insights you give to that student will be better founded.  If insight and suggestions are made to a student that has a different grader each assignment or rotation, than improvements made may not be noticed or heeded by another grader and it will be harder to discern any improvement or shortfalls from the student. You will learn what you like.
     
    Own yourself in your position as a grader.  
    Your professor is trusting you with that, and you are expected to perform as their representative accordingly.  If you are passive in your grading your students WILL pick up on it, and that will make your job more difficult.
     
    Ask for feedback.  
    Each professor you work for will want something different.  You will learn quick to ask for clarification on what they expect from you.  It could be as simple as them not wanting you to provide feedback to students, timelines for grading etc, or very vague such as too much feedback or too little, or pen color, or whatever else that makes you pull your hair out.
     
    Provide feedback.  
    Your students need it most in the beginning of the semester so they know what to expect from you and how to improve.  You will shift your feedback as the semester progresses and towards the end it be less of what to expect, and more of what they missed improving on through your earlier suggestions.  Anything less than a perfect score on something should come with a clear reason of what they did to miss those points.  Vague feedback ca mean potentially running in to student confrontation.  
     
    Have thick skin.  
    You WILL have problem students.  You WILL have students that think an A- isn't fair.  You WILL have students that get horribly offended when you correct their grammar. You will get sick of grading short narratives or discussion board posts that are more text message than proper writing (ugh - my nightmare!!). You will have students love you and students hate you.  You will have professors love you and professors that you will never be able to please.
     
    Most importantly always be able to back up the grade you give.
    Inevitably you will need to defend a grade at some point. As a TA, you will have to defend it to a professor you work for, when an angry student heads their way.  As an instructor, you will have to defend it to your department head and in bad cases, possibly a dean. It may never happen, but most likely it will, and you will need to justify it.
     
    Its kind of funny because when we have been students for so long, you would think we would go into grading knowing what to do and how to be fair, but really it is very different.   You will get more confident the more grading you do.  You will learn a lot through grading, not just about grading and interacting with students, but also subject matter,  syllabus development, lecture techniques, etc etc etc.  Think of it as an active learning experience. It will help when you begin to take on your own classes. Have fun if you can.
  5. Upvote
    ritapita reacted to TMP in Can someone find me an excuse...?   
    One of our graduate students purposely scheduled his office hours at 8 AM (or something like that) so no students would want to show up and he could get his research done.  Bam, he got an article published this way.
     
    When life gives you lemons....
  6. Upvote
    ritapita reacted to fuzzylogician in Can someone find me an excuse...?   
    I had a professor who would do this, entirely on purpose. He would schedule all his classes at 8am, so only students who were really interested and dedicated would show up. Made for better classes, and less work for him because fewer students would enroll.
  7. Upvote
    ritapita reacted to Academicat in Absolutely sick over my applications... opinions?   
    Oh drownsoda. We all think we're the only ones who feel the way you're feeling now, but the truth is, you're brilliant and capable, and we all have these imposter-syndrome crisis of confidence moments. Your credentials are more than acceptable. I echo the advice of the poster above - check out the lit/comp/rhet subforum, and use your networks for advice and support.
     
    The waiting is torture, but while you wait, read happy books, get lost in your video games, binge watch something bright and cheerful on Netflix, and spend time with people who are important to you to pass the time. It will be okay.
  8. Upvote
    ritapita got a reaction from Ritwik in Emailing professors for grad school   
    Hi Stevn7 -
     
    I am curious when your applications are due if you are applying for Fall 2015??  I was always told the general rule is to start a good 6 months out with initial contact.  This ensures the professors are not horribly bogged down with tons of other potential applicant inquiries and will also help in preparation if they are genuinely interested in taking you on.  Time needs to be spent in ensuring research interests are comparable, funding opportunities, etc. Remember that as you are contacting them, that they will get tons of people putting out the feelers, and many at the last minute.  
     
    I started contacting professors at any and all schools I was interested in, after the previous admissions cycle was over.  That way I wasn't too early, but also gave me time to build relationships.  I found that some programs that were really low on my list got moved up quite high, and others I thought for sure were 'the programs' actually fell off my list completely.  You will find that some professors are not taking on new students, or others who you thought their research interest might not be in line, were actually a great fit.  You will also not get return emails from everyone. Either you didn't interest them at all, or you got buried in the stack. Some will reply within hours, others may take a week or so, if not longer.  I would recommend that if you felt like a contact was far reaching and they don't reply, they may not be interested.  It feels hurtful and rude when they don't reply, but you can't take it personal.  You are just a number to them right now.  If you feel like someone hasn't responded that really you feel should have, then reach out with a follow up email in a week or so to put you back on their radar.
     
    I always offer the opportunity for phone call or skype in my emails, and many have taken me up on this. I have also cold-called many professors, and have gotten many return calls back.  If I do cold call and get voicemail I will send an email as well stating I left a message, brief intro, CV attached, request for conversation...very professional and to-the-point. Taling is a much faster way to suss out any possible fit or issues, ask clear direct questions, and be able to discuss freely other things of interest.  It is relationship building and they will remember you much better this way.  After a phone call/skype or two, you have a stronger basis for email conversations, and it really solidifies things.  
     
    I have been in contact with a handful of POIs over the course of the last 8 months and now that it is application time, things are really solid regarding potential research opportunities, funding opportunities, networking with other department members, etc.  It helps greatly with writing your application statements, making them truly connected to the programs you are applying to.  I also, always include a CV, and websites (not everyone has them) with my initial email contact. I have been thanked many times for this. I can say I have probably email over 100 people since I started seriously researching potential programs a year ago, and have gotten replies from about 60-70%. Some lack of replies hurt more than others, and some replies were super surprising, positive, and motivational! Very few will email you back to tell you they are not interested.  I have gotten a couple just to be nice, but most won't reply if they aren't piqued.

    If you are late in the game, you most likely are going to have to work a bit harder for a connection. You sound like you are certainly covering your bases in your email, but if applications are due soon make yourself stand out in your contact emails. Be as professional and thorough as possible, and make it clear why it is important that you want to connect with them.  Send any info along that will help them determine whether there is a potential connection with you as a student. Followup. You want them to take you seriously and remember you when you apply.  Also, as tough as it can be, try to be patient.  Remember that they are getting tons of inquiries, as well as managing their professional responsibilities, such as teaching, committees, etc.  If they don't respond same day, that is pretty normal.  
     
    Most of all best wishes and good luck!  The application networking and process is exhausting and stressful but you will learn a ton about yourself and your research goals as you talk to more and more professors and programs. 
  9. Upvote
    ritapita got a reaction from stevn7 in Emailing professors for grad school   
    Hi Stevn7 -
     
    I am curious when your applications are due if you are applying for Fall 2015??  I was always told the general rule is to start a good 6 months out with initial contact.  This ensures the professors are not horribly bogged down with tons of other potential applicant inquiries and will also help in preparation if they are genuinely interested in taking you on.  Time needs to be spent in ensuring research interests are comparable, funding opportunities, etc. Remember that as you are contacting them, that they will get tons of people putting out the feelers, and many at the last minute.  
     
    I started contacting professors at any and all schools I was interested in, after the previous admissions cycle was over.  That way I wasn't too early, but also gave me time to build relationships.  I found that some programs that were really low on my list got moved up quite high, and others I thought for sure were 'the programs' actually fell off my list completely.  You will find that some professors are not taking on new students, or others who you thought their research interest might not be in line, were actually a great fit.  You will also not get return emails from everyone. Either you didn't interest them at all, or you got buried in the stack. Some will reply within hours, others may take a week or so, if not longer.  I would recommend that if you felt like a contact was far reaching and they don't reply, they may not be interested.  It feels hurtful and rude when they don't reply, but you can't take it personal.  You are just a number to them right now.  If you feel like someone hasn't responded that really you feel should have, then reach out with a follow up email in a week or so to put you back on their radar.
     
    I always offer the opportunity for phone call or skype in my emails, and many have taken me up on this. I have also cold-called many professors, and have gotten many return calls back.  If I do cold call and get voicemail I will send an email as well stating I left a message, brief intro, CV attached, request for conversation...very professional and to-the-point. Taling is a much faster way to suss out any possible fit or issues, ask clear direct questions, and be able to discuss freely other things of interest.  It is relationship building and they will remember you much better this way.  After a phone call/skype or two, you have a stronger basis for email conversations, and it really solidifies things.  
     
    I have been in contact with a handful of POIs over the course of the last 8 months and now that it is application time, things are really solid regarding potential research opportunities, funding opportunities, networking with other department members, etc.  It helps greatly with writing your application statements, making them truly connected to the programs you are applying to.  I also, always include a CV, and websites (not everyone has them) with my initial email contact. I have been thanked many times for this. I can say I have probably email over 100 people since I started seriously researching potential programs a year ago, and have gotten replies from about 60-70%. Some lack of replies hurt more than others, and some replies were super surprising, positive, and motivational! Very few will email you back to tell you they are not interested.  I have gotten a couple just to be nice, but most won't reply if they aren't piqued.

    If you are late in the game, you most likely are going to have to work a bit harder for a connection. You sound like you are certainly covering your bases in your email, but if applications are due soon make yourself stand out in your contact emails. Be as professional and thorough as possible, and make it clear why it is important that you want to connect with them.  Send any info along that will help them determine whether there is a potential connection with you as a student. Followup. You want them to take you seriously and remember you when you apply.  Also, as tough as it can be, try to be patient.  Remember that they are getting tons of inquiries, as well as managing their professional responsibilities, such as teaching, committees, etc.  If they don't respond same day, that is pretty normal.  
     
    Most of all best wishes and good luck!  The application networking and process is exhausting and stressful but you will learn a ton about yourself and your research goals as you talk to more and more professors and programs. 
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