Monday, September 16, 2013

High Expectations

Preston Carter
There have been a number of times when my expectations have been higher than the student’s. Some students have learned from high school and other academic experiences that receiving a passing grade is merely the result putting words on the page. Often, these are the students who ask tutors to only check for commas and grammar issues. Many times they don’t even recognize that there are other things to talk about. They may not have had a class to tell them how to write an essay or an academic paper, or maybe they didn’t pay attention in their classes or need a review of what an essay demands.

I feel that it is my job and business to prepare students for their future classes where professors will fail them for turning in something mediocre whereas they might have previously passed classes by writing a paper that doesn’t quite meet the standards set by the professor or teacher. I tend to handle these situations by referring to the syllabus or rubric that defines the parameters of the assignment. I use the syllabus to ask the student whether they feel that their essay meets the professor’s requirements. Most often, they will ask what they can do to better meet the requirements, and the session is allowed to head down the “big picture” route. It helps to appeal to the idea that every college student is expected to do their best in their work. It is a good ethic to teach students both for academia as well as for the workplace

If the student doesn’t wish to talk about the big picture topics in writing essays and continues to ask for a proofreading session. In these cases, I tend to look for the recurring problems and point them out and ask the student to search for other problems; it might require them to read their essay enough to understand they could use some help in other areas. Even when students are fine with proofreading and turning the mediocre paper in, students are able to take away some grammatical knowledge from the session. Thanks to the personal feedback most professors tend to give at Weber State University and the general student moral of college students, I rarely run into students completely opposed to looking at some big picture topics.


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