Monday, June 16, 2014

Thus spake the students

The term has ended.

Another academic year is over.

When grading the papers, as always, the first thing I did was to quickly scan through the last pages.  I am not being weird--students have trained me to behave this way.  It all started with a poem a long time ago.  Little did I know that the poem was one of a kind--nothing since then.

But, every once in a while, students do include a postscript, which is equally exciting for this old professor.

Like this one that was literally a postscript:
P.S. I really enjoyed your class. You kept it entertaining yet serious all at the same time.  It has shown me there is more to geography than just the location of something, it can involve economics as well.  Thank you for a good term
"entertaining yet serious all at the same time" is how I like 'em.  After all, isn't life itself one mix of entertaining and serious all at the same time?

And, hey, the student has figured out there is immensely more to geography that he would have ever imagined.  Evidence of value-added right there.

In a different class, a student included an "After Note":
I learned a lot on my own and this assignment challenged me to discover ideas for myself. ... I enjoyed doing the research on my own and felt like I learned a lot because of it.  I could keep going on about this topic and enjoyed writing about it a lot.
Score!

The season ends, but not the work. The summer break is nothing but the equivalent of baseball's spring training.  I have got to be in shape for the many, many more seasons that I hope to play.

7 comments:

Ramesh said...

May I add my own PS please , since I am also an "honorary student", albeit from a great distance.

PS - You are a tough taskmaster and a heartless awarder of low grades. But you are a super Prof. Even if we didn't gush over you during the term, we will respect you more and more for many years. The respect will increase each year as we apply the learnings from your classes to life itself.

PPS - If you want a cookie or a cake, bump my grade up a notch :)

Sriram Khé said...

"honorary student" my foot! More like an "argumentative student" ;)

No special cookies or cake for me this term ... one student did bring cupcakes for all of us in that class--cupcakes made from step 1, and with freshly sliced strawberries on top of the cream ... I didn't have my phone in the class to take a photo. I asked a student to help me out, but the photo that he emailed me didn't capture the awesomeness :(

Mike Hoth said...

This argumentative student was unaware you were trading grades for baked goods! Where do I send them?

I was also not aware that you enjoyed postscripts, or I might have left one. Since I didn't write one (and when we last spoke, I had been awake for two days) I'll tell you now. I really enjoyed your class, bad puns and all. I searched for the classes you'll teach in the Fall as soon as they went up on the website, and I was disappointed it was online, but not for the usual reason.

Usually, I avoid online courses because I know they'll get forgotten in the whirlwind of college life, but I'm going to miss our conversations as a class. Maybe you'll have a pesky visitor to your office come September!

Sriram Khé said...

Pesky visitors, especially those bearing cakes and cookies, are always welcome ;) In your case, the postscript was delivered in person in my office, and it was a twofer ...

Yes, with online classes, I too miss the real-time discussions in the classroom. There is a robotic environment online ... but, I have been teaching online for almost 14 years now because, well, we can't fight the technology-driven changes and it is better to embrace them and make the technology work for us rather than the other way around. That way, we can postpone by at least another day or two the coming age of the computer overlords ;)

Anne in Salem said...

My comment is related only because it is about another tough taskmaster. My daughter studied quantum mechanics this term at U of O and earned an A+ in the class. It seems other students did not fare as well in the final grade and begged the professor for a higher grade. His reply, "No, you didn't earn it, and it's not fair to those who did. If you want a better grade, work for it." My daughter already respected the professor, but this comment moved him higher in her esteem.

Ramesh is spot on. The professors who force us to learn, who treat us as adults with reasonable expectations and consequences, will be appreciated the rest our lives as we use those lessons for the rest of our lives. I was fortunate to have such a teacher in high school.

Anne in Salem said...

My comment is related only because it is about another tough taskmaster. My daughter studied quantum mechanics this term at U of O and earned an A+ in the class. It seems other students did not fare as well in the final grade and begged the professor for a higher grade. His reply, "No, you didn't earn it, and it's not fair to those who did. If you want a better grade, work for it." My daughter already respected the professor, but this comment moved him higher in her esteem.

Ramesh is spot on. The professors who force us to learn, who treat us as adults with reasonable expectations and consequences, will be appreciated the rest our lives as we use those lessons for the rest of our lives. I was fortunate to have such a teacher in high school.

Sriram Khé said...

Hey, you love your daughter so much that you commented twice ;)
Hey, you love your daughter so much that you commented twice ;)

Haha ...

That is the kind of awful jokes that Mike apparently will miss!!!

Kidding aside, yes, if students begin to understand that their actions will have consequences and that they, and they alone, will be the ones to enjoy or regret those consequences, then, in my book, they are already set for life. Your daughter certainly has figured that out. Good for her!

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