Insights into business, society, and life in general

Major Screw-up

Man oh man, did I screw up. Here’s what I did. I finished calculating all my grades two weeks before the due date. I finished them, submitted them into the campus Banner system, washed my hands, and turned my sights to survival mode. I won’t kid you, this is probably one of the most difficult times of my life. My income level has fallen into three-digit level and I kid you not. I spend my days on the phone with the mortgage company, the electric company, the phone company, and a host of other assorted companies, pleading, begging, and doin g what I have to to keep from becoming homeless. All I can say is thank you to these institutions who are unfailingly willing to bend as far as they possibly can. 

In the meantime,  my 20-something daughter is teetering on the edge of life — literally. Every day I wake up and say, “Is today the day I’m doing to get the call no mother ever wants to get?”

Back to the grades — every so often a kid comes along who complains about his grades. I had one of those kids this year. The week after I finished and had the whole mess handed in, he contacts me because he thinks he got a B+. Can you believe it??? Even worse, in reality, I gave the kid an A- because though the points indeed added up to a B+, I exerted my professorial liberty because he was a good student. Well, the thing got all out of wehack, miscommunications up the wazoo, I ASS-umed he had gotten the actual grade, he hadn’t, still — complaining about a B+?

He went to the department chair and shared with her a series of communiques we had had, in some of which I was professional, but short. I took the stand that the grades were in and that was that. When I heard he went to the chair, I flipped, and of course, I also was not happy with her handling of it, part of which was my anger-skewed view, part of which was valid. I again communicated via email, professionally, but, shall we say, pointedly. 

Now, had this personal crap not been going on, I would have handled this much differently. I would have taken more time with this kid when he contacted me, dealt with his question, made my decision, and moved on. Perhaps he still would have meandered on to the chair, perhaps he wouldn’t have. 

Perhaps, perhaps. Maybe, maybe. Whatever, I inserted my personal emotion into a situation where it DID NOT belong. This was wrong. And so I was wrong. Mea culpa.


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