Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm starving...

Every morning I make a long journey from my car to my office. I'm sure anyone working at a university understands. There is no way that the parking office could put me in the parking lot right next to my office. Instead, I have to park in the gymnasium parking lot...a full fifteen minutes (walking time) from my office.

I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, since I didn't intend on posting about my transportation issues...

What I really want to gripe about is my chemistry lab. I promised the conclusion of an experiment last week, but my TA didn't manage to grade our pre-lab reports, so I have to wait until Thursday for that one.

But I did learn something interesting during my last lab class...and it had nothing to do with heats of reaction or calorimeters.

Remember when I was fretting about my pre-lab grades? (If not, then catch up here) Well, in lab last Thursday, before class, I asked a few classmates how their pre-grades were. I turned out that everyone I asked had had very similar problems...big X's through their procedures sections with no explanation and poor grades, also without explanation. The most explanation I have gotten about the big X through my procedure section was this: "too detailed information." Well, we decided to collectively ask about the procedures section. And y'know what?!? The TA said, "you're not supposed to do one." WHAT??? Are you kidding?

Let me explain why this is such a huge problem for me...

1. The syllabus says this: "A pre-lab consists of the title, date, purpose, brief procedure and data charts for the experiment," so I assumed that a procedure was necessary. Essentially, I'm getting penalized for doing something that was asked of me in the syllabus.

2. The TA failed to mention, after at least half of the class added a procedures section to their pre-labs for FOUR WEEKS, that a procedures section was not supposed to be on the pre-lab and then continued taking points off for it.

3. The TA wasn't planning on mentioning that a procedures section was not supposed to be on the pre-lab and only did so after we asked him about it.

I'm pretty annoyed. I've put a lot of time into my chemistry class and it's paying off, except for in the lab. I'm not telepathic...I can't read my TA's mind. I only have the syllabus to go by and according to the syllabus, I'm doing exactly what's been asked of me. If there's a change in the expectations, then fine...who am I to say how the class should run and how grades should be calculated. But tell me about it!!! Don' t write "too detailed information" when you really mean "take this whole thing out."

I'm afraid that approaching the TA will give me the same response he's given most other people: "that's just how I grade." I'd probably just end up crying or something.

1 comment:

G Lynn said...

I know the feeling - when I took chemistry one of the questions asked for a description of a cycle of reactions - I did this - and failed - the tutor agteed that I had covered all of the necessary points - his reason fi=or failing me was that he did not want the description started from the point I used - when I pointed out that no speecific starting point was asked for and that a a cyclic series of reactions it made no difference where one started - he refused to speak to me - I appealed and was labelled a trouble maker and asked to leave !!