A Degree in Arts

My degree is in the Art of English. The editing courses I am taking are an extension of this. Last week’s assignment had me SO excited when I saw that I scored 100%. And then I read that as was this prof’s tradition, she did this assignment pass/fail and instead of providing an answer key, provided two possible edits-one the lightest (least modified) allowable and one the heaviest (which in this instance is considered a medium edit). Essentially showing us the spectrum and letting us see where we land, what we have mastered and where we fall short.

This week’s assignment just came back. This is the first week (not including the retrospective pass/fail) in which I have not fallen far short of the class average. Although all scores were low this week. The discussion boards are full of angry, hurt, confused sounding people trying to understand how we can be doing so dismally at something that is both largely subjective (as far as we are instructed) and also not further explained.

Then there is a post (finally!) from the teacher, in which she seems to be e-yelling at her class about how horribly we all did. I kid not, she went through the trouble of size-changing and bolding the auto font. Really. Before that I was just sad at how confused we are, but after I am also upset with an educator’s lack of understanding. We are a large class full of very smart, experienced, educated people pointing out similar problems in our comprehension. Our teacher, our texts, our previous courses–all have mentioned how subjective this can be. But we are getting no direction in how to address that issue.

I feel like we are students of some wise, cranky, old zen master with a long scraggly, pointy beard who slaps us repeatedly and maybe someday we will start catching on to what specifically we are doing to get punished but right now we’re all just bruised and lost. Problem being that this is week 4.5 of a ten week course and I don’t think we have time for that journey.

I am feeling really small, and befuddled, and somewhat vindictive right now. I keep thinking about asking the school (or rather, whatever person at the school that would deal with staff complaints) about my teacher’s qualifications and whether another qualified prof has reviewed her material and grading notes and possibly whether there might be a different prof (one more eager for the students to learn the subject matter, perhaps) teaching the course next term.

I won’t of course. I will remember that once I have completed all the courses, I will have a certification that doesn’t reflect what grades I earned each week or even each semester. The certification is pass/fail in that regard. I get it or I don’t. So unless it seems I am unprovokedly failing I will just sit quietly and try to ride it out.

I am beginning to think I should have explored an education in the sciences. Those seem much more objective.


About theBADhousewife

nature-loving, kid-chasing, housework-hating, dinner-cooking, paper-whoring, bibliophile and general dweeb.
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2 Responses to A Degree in Arts

  1. dclark1983 says:

    That has been my biggest issue with English/Literature classes. There is entirely too much subjectivity in the topics. One has to be an instructor’s family member to know what they want on a completely subjective subject. I had a professor that failed everyone on a test because we didn’t think of “spanish comb” as the strongest instance of symbolism in a 23 page essay. Really? Two Words? It just boils my blood thinking about it.

    Professors/Instructors often fall into the category of trying to make students think the same way they do or have the same feelings/beliefs on different matters. It is sad that it comes through on their teaching and grading. To say the least, it is an imperfect system. It is a system we have to deal with in order to reach our goals.

  2. seriously. and just in case anyone cares, there are more posts asking for direction and even specific examples of confusion, but ALAS, no response from the teacher. I am carefully wording my class/prof review in my head this week… small victories.

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