I’m not sufficiently sympathetic

A student told me that he had health problems and financial problems. He was doing fine in his other courses, but had difficulty in mine. He asked me to tell him honestly if he should drop. I said yes, he should.

He continued with his sob story. I think he hoped I would tell him not to worry. That I would give him a C even though he did not do C work. When I was a new teacher, I might have felt guilty about following the rules. Maybe I’m old and cynical, but I don’t feel guilty anymore. If he has health problems and can’t keep up with college, he should drop the one course that he is unlikely to pass. It is not my job to solve his problems, nor to give him a grade he hasn’t earned.

Just because I can do it doesn’t mean I should do it. Besides, unearned grades shouldn’t go to students with the best sob story.


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One Response to “I’m not sufficiently sympathetic”

  1. trishay79 Says:

    I have learning issues and a few health issues besides. And I would always hope that my teachers would give the grade I deserve and earned, not one because they feel sorry for me or want to make my life easier. If you give a student a better grade than was earned you are not helping them. This is like a local school that I was told I should not attend in high school because they could put in your IEP that you would get all A’s and then the student was allowed to do 1 or 2 chapters or what ever it took to get all A’s and not learn the amount of work the “regular” students were earning. I was not the best student and got mostly C’s and B’s in college, but I took regular classes. High school I did C and D work probably because I was slowly recovering from a long bout of kidney disease illness then a transplant right before high school. Yes being sick makes it harder to learn, but that does not mean you should get treated special. Also it hurts you later in college and maybe life if you just give out undeserved good grades as the student thinks they’re smart when they didn’t learn the material.

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