So I have this kid coming to my office today to “talk about a few things.” Because I am psychic (and because I have dealt with him all semester), I already know that he wants to talk to me to either complain about a grade or ask how to get a higher grade.
I don’t really know what to tell him about this. The dude already makes B’s and some B-plusses, and I just don’t see him doing any better than that. He’s fine on getting the assignments done in an adequate-to-good-ish fashion and meeting all the various requirements, but his writing style is in the not-so-good space between confusing and boring. There are word-choice errors and syntax problems that aren’t such big deals, but they render the writing a bit confusing. But then, I don’t feel like really trying to resolve my confusion because the material is so dry that I cease to care.
I can’t really tell him this, though, can I? I mean, boring writing is a problem A LOT of my students have exhibited over the years, and I have never come up with a diplomatic but effective way to discuss it with them. I usually settle on “make every word count.” Not so helpful, right?
Other things to note: This is a guy who asked for (and received) a one-day extension on his last essay. I don’t mind granting these when someone is either sick for a long time or has a pile-up of assignments from other classes. I usually only do it once per student per semester, and only if they ask. However: I am already a little peeved with him because he is always checking his math homework in the beginning of my class and I have to ask him to put it away every day. Like, he’s already prioritizing other classes over mine before he even asks for an extension so he can get his other class’s paper done. He really doesn’t deserve sympathy at all. But I doubt he’ll bring up these issues in our meeting, and I’m wondering if I should even bother.
Maybe my advice on how to make a better grade should not focus on making his writing less boring, but rather on asking him to pay better fucking attention in my class and put the fucking math homework away. Maybe I should just punch him in the neck. What say you?
UPDATE: My drop-in hours for today are ending in seven minutes and Dude has not shown up yet. He still could show up to my hours Wednesday (I told him either/or would be fine but he said he’d show up today) but at this point I am FED. UP.