September 5, 2006

I Know The Material - I Just Don't Do Well on Exams

In the back-to-school spirit, via John Scalzi, a list of Top Ten No Sympathy Lines (Plus a Few Extra) by Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay.

  • This Course Covered Too Much Material...
  • The Expected Grade Just for Coming to Class is a B
  • I Disagreed With the Professor's Stand on ----
  • Some Topics in Class Weren't on the Exams
  • Do You Give Out a Study Guide?
  • I Studied for Hours
  • I Know The Material - I Just Don't Do Well on Exams
  • I Don't Have Time For All This
  • But you don't understand. I have a job
  • Students Are Customers
  • Do I Need to Know This?
  • There Was Too Much Memorization
  • This Course Wasn't Relevant
  • Exams Don't Reflect Real Life
  • I Paid Good Money for This Course and I Deserve a Good Grade
  • All I Want is the Diploma

I'm always torn by these kinds of super-cynical lists. On the one hand, I can chuckle at the cynicism. Really, students haven't changed that much over the years, I don't think. I'm sure profs 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago could have come up with a similar list. But still, human nature (ie. laziness, dishonesty, arrogance of youth) is always a worth a good laugh. And lord knows, I've chuckled at students attitudes & behaviors a few times over the years.

On the other hand, I sort of feel that if we (as librarians and educators) let our cynicism get the best of us, we risk damaging our relationship with our students. Our cynicism becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, our sincerity the only weapon to combat it. Smile at a student today! (Of course, it's easy for me to say, being on sabbatical and all.)

To end on a cynical note, I checked my search engine referrers a little while ago and one of them was a Google search for "science fair projects for cheaters."

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