Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Political schience"

Folks, I have been dying to get this off my chest.  

I am offering a team class at The Learning Factory (what we call a "Coordinated Studies"). The topic is basically thinking and writing about political controversy and the class itself combines an Intro American Politics class with an "Intro to Analyzing Your Way Out of a Paper Bag with Good Grammar, Excellent Spelling, and Clear and Cogent Argument" class. The two classes are blended. 


This afternoon I received the following email from a student. The email was unsigned and the address gave no clue as to the identity of the sender. The student wrote the following:
Hi, i have a quistion. I  need this class this quarter, but i do not nedd english for high school or my degree, is there a way i can take it with out english? it's just that i don't need it at all, but i really need this class to graduate..

I have several ideas about how best to respond, most of them snarky. Your best advice, snarky or otherwise, would be most appreciated. 


Stephen Spencer said...

Can you direct the student to take a different course? Concurrently, get his or her advisor involved; this kid is slipping through the cracks.

Oh, my.

rpd said...

Slipping through the cracks. I would agree.

Since I have no idea who it is informing the advisor would be difficult but, yes, I will be advising the student to take a different class.

ChrisG said...

Snarky option:
I always enjoy receiving gag mail like this one. "i do no nedd english" - good one! I'll pass though, thanks.

Real option:
First, I disagree with your assessment that you "do not nedd" English. Your message, which is unsigned and provides no other identifying information, has enough errors to demonstrate that you would benefit from additional writing courses. But if you only want a political science course, this is not the right one. This particular course is a coordinated studies class and students must enroll in both parts as the instructional portion is not separated. I recommend you select another class to fulfill your requirements.

I really like the snarky option. I'm sure your response will be better than both of mine. :)

GVB said...

Well, as the other half of this potential teaching dynamo, I have my own set of responses to this. Snarky and not.

The real issue here is that what the student probably means is that he or she has already taken and PASSED the English class in question. Therefore, he or she doesn't "nedd" it.

And forgive me for this worm can, but how low down the qualifications ladder do we go in order to get the enrollment we need to make the class work? Lower our standards in order to increase the bottom line? It is The Way of the Learning Factory to think of students as customers after all...

rpd said...

Well, I ended up laying out the options and then giving a gentle, bullet-pointed primer on professional email etiquette followed by a rather snarly email directed to the heads of the "Analyzing Your Way Out of a Paper Bag with Good Grammar, Excellent Spelling, and Clear and Cogent Argument" Department. :-P

Andy said...

The satisfaction of teaching makes up for the low pay.