Tuesday, May 22, 2007

College Confession

Posted by Anonymous, to Anonymous.

Dear Professor C,

You were my instructor for two types of classes: Accounting and Economics. I was a brilliant student in your Accounting classes; in your Economics classes, however, I was an abysmal failure, so why did you give me an “A” that even I know I did not deserve?

I skipped Economics classes once a week on purpose--to go shopping, to do homework for other classes, to have lunch with friends, to go home for a nap. There were times (maybe two) that I missed class for a legitimate reason--an apartment inspection, a sick child. When I did bother to show up for class, I didn’t pay attention--I slept (that would explain the ball cap), wrote letters, did homework for other classes, did crossword puzzles, wrote poetry, and occasionally read books or magazines.

I know why I was not inspired to bring my performance in that class above “lousy.” I hate Economics. Economics bores me; it puts me straight to sleep. This is not your fault. If I had not been required to take the Economics classes for my major, rest assured that I would not have done so.

I am grateful that you did give me an “A”, while at the same time feeling guilty for receiving the “A” undeservedly. I know for certain that I earned an “F” in both Economics classes I had with you, maybe a “D-” if you were feeling charitable, but an “A”? C’mon, now.

Considering that my attendance was less than 50%, most of my homework was turned in late and especially considering the fact that I cheated on the final, I don’t know what you were thinking giving me a good grade in Economics, except that you are the only professor who teaches that subject at our small college and you were, perhaps, hoping not to see me in those classes again .


Inappropriate, but understandable.

I like you and I know you like me, too.

You are my favorite professor and I (and all the other students in class) know that I am your favorite student.

I know that I got away with nothing short of murder in your classroom every single semester for three years straight. I know the other students thought I was sucking up when I occasionally brought you a coffee (I worked in a coffee shop, I got coffee for free) or when I sometimes brought your favorite chocolaty treat (the fun-size bags of Snickers were on sale around the holidays), but that was before the Economics classes, and I certainly didn’t need a boost on my grades in the Accounting classes--I’m just nice. When the Economics classes started, I saw no reason to change my pattern of behavior.

I’m sure some of the other students even thought we were sleeping together; I’m glad that neither of us ever came close to approaching that line, much less crossing it. I’m not saying I would have done it (because I wouldn’t have), but I’m happy that we can respect each other, knowing that our relationship remained purely that of teacher and student.

Luckily, I am not currently employed in a position that I would need to know the things I did not learn (by no fault of your own) in your Economics classes.

Likewise, my disdain for all things Economical is not your fault, either.

I will not be taking any classes with you when I return to college in the fall… for two reasons. First (and easiest) I am admitted to a degree program that does not contain any required classes taught by you. Second (and most important) I have the utmost respect for you and have no wish to put you in a position that you would even consider giving me another unearned “A”.

I hope to see you around campus when classes begin this fall. We should hang out sometime. You bring the coffee, I’ll bring the Snickers!

Your favorite student,



Anonymous said...

You know I'm a firm believer that if a prof knows the student is capable of an A and just isn't achieving it for whatever reason (a lazy obstacle if you will), why not give out the A? It's win-win me thinks. And screw 'em if the others think you brown nose or are sleeping with the prof, they are just jealous.

liv said...

Amazing. I think I could have written this letter to at least one professor at my small town school. The distinct feeling that I got was how bad I felt for letting her down. I was a good student. One semester I just got worn down and tired. I slacked and my work sucked.

J. said...

Wow. I'm a part-time university professor, and I can't even imagine finding myself in this sort of scenario. Giving an A grade under those circumstances is fundamentally unfair to all the other students in the class - especially those who actually worked for their As.

I wonder what his true rationale was?

Jodi said...

wow. I am a good student, I have a 4.0. I work my ass off, most of the time. I would be pissed if somebody got an "A" under the circustances you described. It's massively unfair and makes everybody else's "A" not worth as much merit. I wonder what in the heck that teacher was hoping to accomplish by giving you a grade you didn't deserve? That's truly unacceptable in my opinion. I don't get it. Although I have to add I don't blame you because it doesn't sound as though you were asking for the "A". I blame him, not you. He sounds like a sucky teacher frankly.

Anonymous said...

I am the author of the "Dear Professor" letter. In response to your comments...

Anonymous, you're right in assuming I was capable of an A, I just, I don't know... quit caring, I suppose. I tried in the begining, but I just couldn't make myself care about the subject!

Liv, I feel awful about letting my professor down, too--he knew and I knew that I had the ability to do much better than I did! I don't know what my problem was!

J., you're right about the A being unfair to the other students (ESPECIALLY those who worked for their A's!). I probably should have approached the prof about lowering my grade. But then I wonder if he would have actually lowered it to a grade that was fair, you know? (I, too, wonder what his rationale was!)

Jodi, you're also right about this situation being unacceptable! I still feel horribly guilty, even though this all happened more than two years ago! I was shocked when the grades came in; I was anticipating a failing grade (which I know I deserved) and was terrified about how it would affect my scholarship. He actually is a pretty good instructor (good at teaching the material) but considering the circumstances, I don't feel comfortable taking any classes with him again.

Thank you all so very much for not judging me harshly (although I probably deserve it). I want to let you all know that I do feel at fault for not requesting that my homework/tests be re-reviewed by another faculty member. I appreciate your support, your kind words, and your understanding!

Anonymous said...

That was a strange situation for your prof to give you an A. Hopefully it did not affect any other students negatively. He could have made a mistake, or any of the reasons that you stated. In the end though, take the grade and get the hell out of econ if you hate it! Just like you did. Then, I would steer clear of the guy in the future just in case there were creep-oid intentions from him. After college, it will all be water long under the bridge, and your transcript will be none the wiser.