Friday, October 21, 2005


I have never assigned a grade. While I'm mostly glad about this-- evaluating, ranking, judging students seems like no fun at all-- at times I've wished that I did have the authority to affect a student's grade. Simply because this would make me more respected/ feared.

I'm team-teaching a Video/ Feedback session, which itself is only one component of an intensive three-part pre-service teacher training course. The whole course is pass/ fail-- at the end of the semester, students are either adequately prepared to be TAs, or else they aren't. And it's the primary instructor who assigns the grade; while feedback from me may influence the instructor's decision, I don't actually evaluate my students.

One student just isn't doing well. He's not putting much effort into the class; he's not taking it seriously. Consequently, his presentation style is very weak. I'm trying to figure out how to put the fear of God into him so that he'll start taking V/ F seriously. His feefdback partner is also my best student: her presentations are always original, creative and well-prepared. She's managed to introduce some very complicated ideas in an accessible manner, and will be a strong teacher.

I worry that she will be de-motivated by the fact that her presentation partner is putting so little effort into the class. Already last week she didn't prepare for the feedback session, and I wonder if this was because she knows the other guy never prepares.

I really hesitate to pit the two against each other. There's a lot he could learn from her-- but while they're both in the same room, I mustn't treat them differently or express preference for one over the other. Nevertheless there's the simple fact that one of them is doing just about everything wrong, and the other has many things spot-on.


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