My class finished last Friday, with the third test two weeks before. I got a disappointing 75%, smack dab between the 1st and 2nd test grades, and (it seemed to me) solidifying my C in the class. I still had an 89% average on homework, but that was worth only 20% of the total grade. We spent the last two weeks of class doing some pretty wacky statistics, comparing two different sets of data under different circumstances, mostly. The final exam had six questions instead of his usual five. I assumed that there would be enough time to do all of the problems if I worked steadily, because it had been true on all three previous tests. Not this time. I didn't finish #5, and didn't even look at #6. I thought I had done OK on the problems I worked on, a definite pass, but very, very unlikely to break me out of the C bracket in which I had been firmly planted.
When the prof called time, half of us were still scrambling to finish. I've been on the prof side of this one, so I wrote my name on the front page and got up to give him my test. By then he was calling a second time for tests, and I was getting a bit annoyed. By his third call he was also annoyed, and I was closer to pissed. Back in Korea, I had to make threats to make my students hand in tests at the same time. I just didn't figure to find that kind of behavior here. And I kind of figure that the prof hadn't, either. I'm sure that if he had seen this kind of thing too many times he would have a proper threat or two ready:
"All right, everyone, minus five percent if I don't have your test on this table in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1." Of course, you accept anything from anyone standing by the end of the countdown, but you have to mark that -5% on anyone who is still sitting by "1". Threats have to be promises, even on the last day. Not so much because of what you will face from students in the future, but because you have to come away with a sense of integrity.
Anyway, I went to see Prof. Stall Monday afternoon (after taking a different test in the morning) to talk about my future courses in the math department. He basically told me that I don't need to audit or re-take Calculus I or II. He figured that if I managed this class (Statistics for Masochists) I could handle anything else on the list coming up. The biggest problems I am likely to face are the ones I've faced here: adjusting to being a student again after 13+ years of not being a student and juggling family and job with school.
While I was there another student came in to ask about his grade. Until that point I really hadn't thought about it. I figured I had my C unless I had really screwed up the final. He offered to give me my test, as he had returned my classmate's. Of course I took it. First I saw 86. Hey! Not too shabby! Then I realized that it was 86 out of 120. Ouch. 71%. I definitely got a C in the class. So when he told me I got a B, I thought he meant on the final. "No," he said. "Your course grade is a B."
I was a bit floored. I thanked him, but didn't ask about it. I wish I had, because I'm curious how he decided that I deserved a B.
And so my return to school has resulted in a very slight boost of my overall G.P.A. Not as much as I had hoped for going in. This fall I will take a 2-hour course. This time I think the A is within my grasp. Assuming work and family don't do me in.
I gotta get going. I'm putting Maxine to sleep these days (nights) and following up when she wakes up. It's only been two days so far, but it is taking a lot out of me. And it's after 10:30. Time for me to get busy with the baby.