I hate grade grubbers more than I hate pedophiles. Grade grubbers are the pedophiles of the academic world. Is that too extreme? Offensive? (Guess what? I don’t care)
For the blessedly unfamiliar, grade grubbers are self-congratulating, special snowflakes who can’t seem to accept reality at the end of a semester. As such, they attempt to force their delusions upon me.
They do this at the end of a semester.
After final grades have been submitted.
When I just want to curl up in my heated blanket and pretend they never existed.
They are the lemon juice in a paper cut I forgot I had. They are the dank, rotten cilantro odor tainting the air after a stink bug has been slain. They are the e-mails clogging my spam folder (the ones I never get around to deleting), trying to sell me Viagra for the penis I don’t have.
They come to me, obsequious and contrite at first, begging for unwarranted clemency.
Their e-mails are always subtle and passive aggressive in their attempts to place the blame for their failure squarely upon my shoulders. Let me give you a sampling:
Dear Professor, (respectful – so far, so good)
I was surprised to see that I ended up with a B in your class.
(Oh really? Were you surprised? Because, guess what, reading your final essay was like stubbing my toe a million times and then immediately falling into a pool of lava. Did Paris Hilton write it for you, or did you just dangle a fish in front of your your cat while it walked across your keyboard for a few minutes?)
After all, I got A’s in all my other classes, and I’ve always been an A student. (Oh fantastic! I didn’t realize I was consorting with an ***A Student*** here. Wow. I’ll just go change that grade immediately since, after all, your grade in my class is entirely determined by the grades you receive in your other classes and your ability to demonstrate such robust megalomania. In fact – why just an A? Let’s make it an A + + +!)
I even had my mom, who is also a professor here, read over all my papers before I turned them in, and she always said they were good. (Well since your professor mother [who most certainly must exist because you say she does] thinks you deserve an A, I will certainly change that grade for you. After all, she’s the professor of this class, right? Oh she’s not? Well then I guess she can go fly a kite with all the other moms I don’t care about.)
I feel like I earned an A in your class, and since I was only 1 percentage point away, I would be so grateful if you could change my grade to an A. (Do I even need to comment on this? Yes, you were only one percentage point away. Do you know what that means? IT MEANS YOU WERE A FULL 1 PERCENTAGE POINT AWAY FROM EARNING AN A. But you know what? Forget that. Let’s come up with a new system of evaluation based upon what you feel you deserve.)
If I don’t get an A in your class, I won’t be able to [insert sob story here – make the dean’s list, keep my scholarship, play basketball, be an RA, achieve self-actualization, wipe my own ass, and on and on and on, ad infinitum]. If there’s any extra credit I can do to raise my grade, please let me know. (Oh, your performance in my class might jeopardize your ability to have something you want? Well then I will definitely change your grade lest you suffer some kind of disappointment in life. We can’t have that. It’s probably my fault that you didn’t take advantage of the TWO extra credit opportunities I offered earlier in the semester, but now that the semester is OVER, I would love to go out of my way to assign and grade more work for you.)
I really enjoyed this class this semester, and I thought you were a really good professor! (Oh flattery! Now we’re resorting to flattery! Ingenious. I’ll never see through that. . .)
The Worst Person Ever – no really, I’m THE WORST person ever
I even had a student once try to force her final essay into my hand even though she had disappeared from class for about a month without a word, far exceeding the attendance policy and automatically failing her for the course (which I informed her about in an e-mail I sent, also encouraging her to withdraw from the class so her failing grade wouldn’t damage her GPA).
I should have known this girl was a soul-sucking black hole of a bitch the first day of class when I innocently pronounced her name, Sajah, like this –> Say-juh (like Asia, but with an S). She snotted back, “Um, hello? It’s pronounced Suh-jay-uh.” I wanted to snot back, “No. It’s not. You’re missing some letters. Were they stolen? Perhaps you could borrow some from Emmaleeighh over there, since she’s not even using half the letters in her name.”
Anyway, after I stood my ground and refused to take this girl’s final essay she left it, along with a note, in my mailbox. The note read “Teachers like you are the reason students like me don’t succeed.”
Am I? Um, thanks, I guess.