Captain's Log: August 17 2015
This is the week when the final exam research papers are due. Whew! Although grades are not due until August 22, I like to receive the finals about two weeks prior to the final date when grades must be recorded. My timeline gives me some leeway. Experience has taught me never to wait until the last week to expect final papers to be submitted. Inevitably, “Murphy’s Law” will kick in if one does not set his/her schedule to give the captain/professor some flexibility.
Now, this week proves to be a provocative one.
I expect to get quality work from a crewmember who gets to an advanced cruise position. However, I see that, perhaps, some of them forgot, ignored, or did not realize just how important what they learned in the basic cruises. They learn that the advanced cruise captain has not forgotten, will not ignore what is needed, or not take into account the importance of the basics. These particular crewmembers have consistently posed challenges. Based on some of their posts on Blackboard, they show they understand the importance of a command of Standard English Dialect, but they do not always demonstrate that command. They show they understand the importance of a strong content presentation, but they do not always put out that 100%. Still, they recognize that this captain will not accept less.
It is very obvious that some crewmembers really did their best. They really tried. And the results made me a proud captain. Still, there were some papers that were less than stellar. And just as I take credit for the very good papers, I must take responsibility for those papers that are not.
Here I must digress. There is something about me as a captain. I want to win them all. I want to be able to inspire every crewmember that comes on my ship. I went into a very experienced captain’s office lamenting that I just could not seem to get these two students to follow what I am teaching. Their work just was not coming up to par. Yes, many years ago, I remember what this experienced, retired captain, who has now passed, told me, “Little Captain, you cannot win them all.” I admired her so much, so hearing this from her let me know that I was not a “failure” as a captain/professor. Still, I am still trying to “win them all.” And I am convinced that the day I stop trying I must give up my captainship.
Now, since I have given the crewmembers their grades, for the paper, and for the course, this gives them the opportunity to express any concerns or a disagreement with the course grade. I have a clear policy that grades are not changed after a certain time. Yes, this captain needs to have a week’s break before the new cruise ships are ready to take off; I do not plan to deal with any crewmember about his/her grade. This has proven to be a very successful ploy.
So, I must say to you, my readers, this will be my last post for this semester regarding this cruise. It has been an honor sharing with you my various captain’s logs. And I shall be writing you again as I sail off on another cruise with new and, hopefully, an eager crew.
What I would like to do is use the next two weeks as a time for you to ask me questions about teaching. Do you have some concerns as a new teacher, experienced one, or a writer wanting to develop a particular writing piece? Feel free to submit your questions in the comment box below or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask, ask, ask!