My Latest Special Snowflake

Received via email tonight (personal data changed to protect the student’s identity):

hello professor

this is ********** in your ********** class, according to a friend in the class that you gave back the exam 2 grades in class which i asked you for it before i left the class on monday, you told me you didnt have them graded yet and do not know when you will, may i please know my first exam grade(after corrections) and the 2nd exam grade please?
if possible, i would like to know my average up to this point before the final exam so i can estimate how much i need to get on final in order to get an A in your class, since i do not know any assignment grades after the midterm drop point. it was very hard for me with school work this semester. Regardless of my (medical condition), i kept up with the assignment due days (except ch9 hw, my (medical treatment) prevented me to do them on time).

greatly appreciated if i could get my average in the class.

Dear Student,

You are correct. Your class’s tests were not yet graded when you asked on Monday. They were graded and returned on Wednesday in class. However, you chose to not come to class on Wednesday. Your test, along with those of the other students who were not in class, is in my office.

It is Friday night, I am at home, and I am not going back to my office until Monday. I do not have a copy of my gradebook at home, nor do I memorize each student’s test grade as I enter them. Therefore, I will not be able to inform you of your grade until Monday.

As for giving you your average in the class, there is no such thing as an “average” in my classes. Your grade is calculated with a rather complex formula which weights assignments, tests, and the final exam differently, and at this point would only tell you your grade for the class if you made a zero on the final.

Rather than worry about “how much you need to get on the final,” I suggest you worry about making sure you have completely mastered the material that will be on the final exam. That way, you can ensure that if it is mathematically possible for you to earn a grade of 90 or above in the class, you will do so.


Your Professor


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  1. Nice try ;-)Nice answer ;-))

    • Martin on December 4, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Also, spending a few cents on punctuation wouldn’t hurt. 🙂

    • doodlewolfdude on December 5, 2009 at 12:17 am

    first of all I laughed so hard I woke up the other people in the house that were sleeping, secondly they should have sent the email on Wednesday, third you never figure out what you have to make on the final in order to make a specific leter grade, you simply study your brains out and prepare for the finals ….. this is not like “who wants to be a millionaire” you don’t get to just do as much of the test as you think your need to do in-order to get a certain grade. also to assume that a professor takes all their work home with your so you can contact them outside of school about their job is dis respectful to the maximum … .if you were my urologist or my OB/GYN i would not have the right to call you to ask you if you had my test results while your were at home at night. finally if you have medical problems you should have let your professor know far far in advance or you should have worked around them. now understand I’m not professor but i am a student and I know the way things should be done and this ain’t it

    sorry for the mini rant

    • Andrea on December 5, 2009 at 8:32 am

    ROFLMAO!!! Entitlement much?

    Let’s count up the Student Deadly Sins, shall we?
    *First, Unwaranted Accusation and Implied Conspiracy. The SS implies that you were lying to him on Monday. This could fall under the category of Rudeness, below, but I think it is worth being in its own category.
    *Second, sheer laziness: S/he then waits until Friday to ask for something s/he should have been in class to get on Wednesday (and only asks because s/he talked to another student, implying being well enough to get out and about.)
    *Third, Genuine Rudeness. If a Medical Condition prevented the SS from attending class, s/he should have been emailing for his/her grade in a timely & polite way (I apologize for not having attended on Wednesday. Student X said that you had given the assignment back. I know it is the weekend and that you may not keep your grading records at home, but if you do have access to them, could I know the grade on my assignments? Thank you!”).
    *Fourth, Stupidity. The relative weight of each assignment is spelled out clearly on all syllabi *I* have ever written or seen, and I can’t imagine it is any different for yours. Relative weight, of course, means that one cannot give an “average”. As for the nonsense about the final … I can’t improve on the DoodleDude’s comments!
    OTOH, s/he did not call you at three in the morning. I had a SS once who did that, when I was living with Bill. Apparently I talked tot he student for 20 minutes, telling him some very improbable things (which showed up on his next exam). Serves him right for calling anyone at that time of night!

  2. Reminds me how glad I am that I am no longer teaching.

    • Kelley on December 5, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    That is absolutely fantastic. I love that SS is your term of endearment for this whiner, I mean treasure!
    .-= Kelley´s last blog ..And the Winner Is…. =-.

    • Julia on December 5, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Kelley, I can’t take credit for the term of endearment; it’s in common use over at Rate Your Students, the academic’s answer to Rate Your Professor.

    I love having both the studential AND the professorial side in the comments!
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..My Latest Special Snowflake =-.

  3. I have 2 similar students coming to my office this morning. I may borrow from your response – it's perfect.

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