Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Entire Reason We Started This Blog

Hello friendly TR Mafia blog readers:

We recently read a blog post on a fellow grad students blog (from another university) and we couldn't help but think back to the entire reason we started this blog: to vent. That's about all we have to say right now. Read this and feel our pain. Thank you.

I Am An Angry Person (Sometimes)

As part of my assistantship in my graduate program, I TA for a couple professors. Each professor teaches at least two classes with a different group of students for each. My interaction with students is zilch. And my involvement in the classes is only slightly higher than that: I grade papers and enter those grades. In other words, it's a completely antiseptic relationship.

Interestingly enough some students don't seem to understand that. They suppose that my very life and breath is sustained by their--and their alone--success in that class. Here is one excellent example:
Hi Camilla,
I see I have a ZERO for quiz 9. I've never missed a quiz or been late to class and have always done 100% of the readings. So whatever quiz 9 was based on, I should not have a zero. Could you check on that for me?
Angry Undergraduate Student
Note the cheery greeting that belies the hostile message found below. I have yet to respond to this student, or do anything about her grade. I have, however, found the time to compose a stingingly sarcastic response, which I did not send, but did disseminate amongst the other graduate students and now here on my blog:
Please understand that I am a TA for multiple classes and your email about a nameless, dateless quiz in an unspecified class was not only rude, but useless to me. Perhaps you should look up an article on hostile attribution bias and review your approach to conflict or stressful situations. Just a thought. Also, given the fact that you have--as you were so kind to inform to me in your email--earned 100 percent on everything else in the class, I don't believe that a missing grade for one quiz is quite the crisis you have built it up to be. Perhaps you should also research the following thinking errors: catastrophizing, and, while your at it, entitlement. Definitely entitlement. Furthermore, as a grad student working on narrowing down a thesis topic, putting together lit reviews and presentations, studying upper level statistics, training for a half marathon, working for two professors while simultaneously putting in hours for three other part-time jobs, I frankly don't care about your one, measly 10-point-at-best missing quiz score. Nor, as illustrated by the lengthy list of demands on my time, am I diabolically conniving to ruin your or any other student's shot at seeing your name in lights on the dean's list of honor, or earning that extra $100 your parents will pay you for earning an "A." Again, I just don't care.

Maybe you'd like to try your email to me again.


Your over-worked, under-paid, sleep deprived, and apparently worthless-by-your-standards, TA