August 15, 2009
Snarky replies to Grade Emails
I have a flood of emails this semester, but I usually get a couple of these:
Dear Prof. Art, Why did I get a C? I looked at my grades and worked so hard! I don’t think I deserve a C.
I usually reply with simple numbers. It is really the best way. It makes it a matter of the student being bad at math, rather than me being a bitch. I work hard to keep my standards consistent and clear. I’m not about to change them. Having gone back each and every time and checked every grade, and the gradebook, and my email (in case something got emailed instead of turned in properly, and got missed), etc. etc. etc., there are some snarky comments I would dearly love to smack these students with, especially since the vast majority of these emails imply that the grade is my fault, not their earned feedback. It would just a form like this:
I am sorry you are disappointed by your grade.
Please select the appropriate reason(s) this student has received their grade:
*However, it would have helped immensely if you had turned in your work. I cannot grade what I do not have.
*It is very, very difficult to get in an A in a class when you have failed both the midterm and the final examinations. In fact, just failing one can make that pretty difficult.
*Oh, and by the way, those exam grades? They weren’t out of line with the work you turned in. When you bothered.
*Actually, you failed. I was feeling generous and tried to credit you for demonstrating some level of learning this semester.