Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You have to do more than that to scare me!

I just received this email from a student:
Dear Dr. Fescue,

I was wondering if I can make an appointment with you sometime on Thursday regarding [the homework assignment] I wrote for class. You put a comment on my paper that you were afraid. Seeing this comment, I feel that I need some help. I did have an extremely hard time with it and would like you to help make this clear for me. Hopefully I will have more sense of it if I speak to you about it.

Sincerely,
Anxious Student
As I recall, I wrote a comment on her assignment along the lines of, "This is a good effort, but I'm afraid that it isn't quite successful at [specific task]." I wrote her back assuring her that I wasn't frightened by her assignment, but that I simply regretted to say that it didn't meet the requirements.

Because really: if I were easily frightened by undergraduate writing, would I be in this profession?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps she misread it because of her own anxiety. She did say she had an extremely hard time with it, sounds like she wants to meet with you anyway.

-scr

Flavia said...

Bro: that could be, although I should add that this is a tiny little assignment, worth virtually nothing--I grade homework with a check, check-plus, or check-minus, and even a check-minus works out to a B- range grade (part of the point of having these assignments is just to see who's keeping up with the reading, and to allow me to catch & correct problems of writing/analysis before the big papers and tests come up).

But, this WAS a weird kind of assignment, I admit, although I went over the rules three times.

kfluff said...

For some reason, this totally tickles my funny bone. This seems to be a hard time of the semester for students--mid-terms, lots of projects due, cold, grey, etc. I wonder if it's a reading problem s/her exhibits here--not getting the whole comment in context? This presents significant problems for the bevy of writing responses that start with "you explore a fascinating set of ideas here, but..."

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Well, I just graded a paper that made me very afraid...

kermitthefrog said...

Poor student! So anxious about the power of her words to strike fear into the heart of her professor, and about your willingness to face your fear! It is kind of funny...

phd me said...

Ooo, funny! I have read some scary stuff this semester, though...

Horace said...

Talk about projecting! Who is afraid of that comment???

Oso Raro said...

Classic! I'm afraid you better be afraid because I'm afraid you're about to be afraid that I'm afraid that you're afraid you're about to flunk, my dear!

Breena Ronan said...

Sorry, I have to use web slang now. LOL!

Prof. Me said...

I think that's just about the funniest student comment I've ever read. Of course, I'm the type of person who always assumes that it's ME who has made some sort of gaffe, and so as the professor I would totally be thinking, "Gee, did I really say that I was AFRAID in my comments? What was I afraid of? Why oh why do I leave such detailed comments?!"

medieval woman said...

hee, hee, hee, hee
(*snort!*), heh, heh....

students are so funny when they're a bit uptight...

Dr. Virago said...

You know, it's amazing to me what cliches and idioms students have never heard, and I bet that's the cause of this student's unintentionally funny misreading.

Liz said...

that is funny!

David Harmon said...

It's also possible that the student may have Asperger's, or some other LD, which predisposes them to interpret things literally. In such a case, gentle correction is warranted, and perhaps a suggestion to seek whatever assistance your school provides for such issues.