Friday, October 5, 2007

I hate to be one of those students, but...

Chemistry lab is turning out to be a real disappointment. From annoying lab partners to obnoxious classmates...and now the TA.

I don't want to be one of those "my teacher sucks because I'm not doing well" students, but I have that attitude at this point.

For the lab section of my Chemistry course I have to hand in a pre-lab and lab report for every experiment. The pre-lab is a statement of purpose and a brief version of the procedures. We hand the pre-labs in before each lab. The purpose of them, as stated in the syllabus, is to show evidence of preparation for the lab. I have been writing the pre-labs with the utmost care; making the purpose statement as concise and accurate a possible and writing the procedures out with less detail than the lab manual, but enough detail so that I could do the lab correctly. Yesterday, I got back the first two labs that we did and while I got the full 8 points for each lab report, I got only 1 out of 3 points for each pre-lab. The only explanation of the grade slash was this: "Too detailed information."

Okay. So there's too much in the procedure section. I get it. I need to do less. That's fine. My problem is that I've now handed in three labs without knowing that I'm putting in too much detail. Perhaps if my first lab had been returned, oh, earlier than a month after I handed it in, I might have been able to address the problem. But now I have three crappy pre-lab grades. The lab doesn't count for more than 1/5 of my grade, but it's still going to bring down my overall grade (which up until now was 100%). I understand that my TA is busy. He's a PhD student and he's got his own stuff goin' on. But crap...a month later???

It also sorta irks me that the kids who do their pre-labs in the five minutes before lab starts get better grades. It's pretty obvious that the grades don't actually reflect preparedness...
Also, the girl who asks me ninety questions during the lab needs to crack the spine on her lab manual. I'm not her freakin' tutor.

In the spirit of recent sauropod posts, I thought I would include some pictures I took at the Miami Science Museum's "Dinosaurs of China" exhibit. The first is Lufengosaurus and the second is Shunosaurus. More pictures can be found here.

And the moment you've all been waiting favorite new bookend:

Thanks for, off to the doctor...

1 comment:

Zach Miller said...

Seriously, go see the department chair about the lab reports. First, not being able to correct your mistake for a whole month is unacceptable. Also, how can you ever have too detailed of information? I would think you should get extra credit for that sort of thing.
But really, Amanda, the chair needs to know about this. I guarantee you are not the only student getting the shaft because this TA is too busy to do his job.