Friday, May 6, 2011

Sewing and Errands

I've finished the handsewing for my RTW jacket (all the padstitching and interior taping) and it looks ok.  I think the interfacing may have been a poor choice for this project, because it's delaminating around the edges of the pieces which have spent a lot of time in my bag, but it'll be sewn into the seams, so hopefully that will keep it from coming all the way off.  Plus there's plenty of interior sewing holding it to the shell fabric. 

I don't quite know if my pad stitching is going to do what it needs to do, since this is my first time padstitching anything, and I'm not sure if I helped it roll or just puckered the fabric.  I suppose we'll see when it goes together.

I thought today was going to be spent sewing and doing some research work, but that's not to be, because I need to find a new power cord for my computer.  The computer is fine, thankfully, but the powercord no longer transmits electricity, so but I need a new one in order to use my computer.   I finished my current round of grading, though, so at least I'm not pressed for time until exams come in in about two weeks.

Speaking of grading:  I usually try not to take student misbehavior or slacking personally, since 9 times out of 10 it's due to something non-academic, and I did my own fair share of it in college.  But without getting into the specifics, I'm more than a little annoyed at a paper that a student turned in.  The paper is about a politically sensitive subject, and bases a rather vague but well meaning argument off of a lot of fundamental misunderstandings about the nature of American government and about religion.  The problems of the framework are not wrong because I disagree with them politically: they're just factually wrong.  

This is bad enough, from a graduating senior who is an American, and, presumably, is qualified to vote.  But the students also had to turn in a proposal on which they got feedback early in the semester, and I spilled a lot of ink informing the student of the errors in hir* framework for understanding the interaction of religion and government, and explaining in a basic-civics kind of way how the American government actually works.  I also met with the student in person a few times, and we discussed at length how religion and government interact in relation to the student's paper topics, the student asked questions, and kind of sounded like zie* got at least the basics of how the Supreme Court is in fact different from the legislative branch, and does different things.  

But, I get the paper, and the same fundamental misunderstandings are right there, and underpin the whole argument of the paper.  IF those the student's assumptions were true, it would still be a bad paper due to poor writing, lack of sources, and vague argumentation.  BUT it also has these deep factual errors, making it both wrong and incomprehensible.  

Normally I would chalk it up to just not getting it and move along, but I met with this student on a number of occasions, talked hir through the problems of hir framework, and made detailed suggestions about where to look and how to reframe the topic so it was based on factually true things.  And the student did none of them, so I was kind of pissed while grading the paper.  I've assigned a grade, but I'm going to wait until grades are due to put an official grade in for the paper, because I'm not sure if I'm being more harsh because I spoke with the student so many times than I would be if I hadn't spoken with the student.

*What's all this "hir" and "zie" business?  If you haven't come across it before, hir and zie are used as gender neutral pronouns.  I prefer them when talking about students or about anyone else I want to keep anonymous.


  1. You know, I think it's totally fair to take into account the student's asshattery. It's not even exactly punitive on your part: you are holding zie responsible for knowledge zie had access to. And even if zie hadn't consulted with you earlier in the semester, you still would assign a grade that reflected gross errors. For example: my student who wrote a paper in which zie argued that the Holocaust was "just for show" and that the Jews provoked it themselves got a D-. (I'm still peeved that I wasn't allowed to give zie an F.) "Well, maybe zie just didn't know" wasn't a relevant excuse. It's okay to teach graduating seniors a lesson -- even if they never bother to pick up the paper.

  2. Hmmm, those gender neutral pronouns are awfully distracting...and to be honest quite annoying, but I still get what you're saying. At least you can relax that you did your best with this student.
    Your jacket is coming along nicely! I hope to get back to mine some day soon ;)