Life’s Outtakes » Student Communications (2016)

Most of my college students are bright, fun to teach, and work hard. But each semester I get interesting letters, emails, phone calls, and other correspondence from a few students. I save these, and, occasionally, I compile them into a column. The last few years I have shared some of these, and, with school just starting, I thought I’d share a few more. I don’t think any of these comments need any explanation, other than to say that I changed or removed any names for anonymity. Also, I pared down a few of them a bit.

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(Email correspondence) Girl: Did someone by chance happen to turn in a phone to you after class today (Monday)? It’s an iPhone 6 and it’s a rose-gold color.

Me: Yes. I have it in my office.

Girl: Awesome! Thank you! Will you be able to bring it to class on Wednesday?

Me: Yes. Can you live without it that long?

Girl: Haha! Yes, I’ll be fine. It’s too much of a distraction anyway. I do better in my classes without it. I ought to just get rid of it.
*****

Dear Professor Howard, I wanted to write to tell you how much I enjoy your class. I have never been good at math and have always struggled to get the concepts. With the humorous scenarios and stories you tell to help us understand the concepts, the class is a lot more fun. I still don’t get the math, but at least I’m enjoying the class while I’m not learning the math.
*****

Professor Howard, I am really mad. You said the test was right out of the homework, but the problems had numbers changed in them, and I had all of the homework answers memorized.
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Professor Howard, I am really ticked off about the test, especially problem 12. I don’t think it was fair. I know we went over it the day of the test review, but I didn’t understand it, and I don’t think it’s fair to put something on the test that I don’t understand.
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Hi Professor Howard, In class today you said that the average on the test was over 80% . I think that I must have gotten the wrong exam when I went to the test center because I really bombed it and was nowhere near 80%. I got in the testing center yesterday, and yes, it was over polynomials and the things that we did in class, but I couldn’t figure out a single problem. It was like nothing I remember doing. So what I’m thinking is that maybe I got some other teacher’s test and not yours. It did have your name at the top as the teacher, but I think maybe the computer did that by mistake, too, because as little as I knew I’m sure it couldn’t be the right test. Is there a way I could be given a chance to retake it so I can get the right exam?

(I let him retake it just to see if something was wrong and then got this note.)

Professor Howard, I went in to take the test again and it was the same test, and I didn’t understand it anymore than I did before. Maybe I should come see you for some help.
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Hi Brother Howard. You know that project quiz that had one true/false question. I did it and got it wrong. I was wondering if there was any way you would reopen it for me because I’m sure I know the right answer.

(I wrote her back and said that if she would show me her work, I might give her partial credit, and she said no, it was okay. She thought she would skip it.)
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A fellow teacher shared this communication from a female student: Dear Teacher, Is it possible that I could turn the assignment in another day? I have had a relapse with my cold/flu and I am having a hard time constipating, but I will get it done.

© Copyright 2016 – Daris Howard. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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