Thursday, March 11, 2004


The last page of a lab report which was turned in scrawled in multi-colored marker across several sheets of flowery stationery, several sections missing, out of order, or totally unrelated to the assignment:

Sorry for the horrible lab report. I might as well not turned one in. I promise next time to do and try much better. Sorry again, Emily

PS: just gimme A zero cuz I know I'm very close to one.

She's completely right. Her work during the lab annoyed the heck out of everyone around her, myself included. There was no way she could have produced good work after all that. On the other hand, she has some serious emotional problems which I am vaguely aware of, but which are confidential between her and the school counselor (whom she sees nearly every day). And my lack of patience for her behavior during the lab certainly didn't help her to accomplish anything.

So, I am opting for compassion: I wrote my own note at the top of the front page:


I am not going to count this. However, I will expect much better work - with your group and in what you hand in - from now on.

Ms. F.

Normally, I would expect her to rewrite the assignment, but she would really have to repeat the whole lab in order to do a good job on the report, and there is simply not time for that. This was an important wake-up call for me, though. She needs and wants my help, not my irritation. I will have to provide a lot of extra support to her and her partners during the next project.


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