Gallery of art and thoughts

The cartoons and contemplations of a twentysomething copy editor.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

New Illustration

I have an illustration in this month's edition of In the Fray, an online political magazine that I've been drawing for. (You can see my two previous illustrations for ITF here and here.)

In other news, Alicia C. Shepard, an American University journalism professor, has some disturbing words on students' reactions to undesirable grades in the Washington Post. Undergrads, she writes, become ornery about getting an A-minus or a B -- to the point of arguing with professors over these grades and attempting to change them. Prof. Shepard suggests using a numerical grading policy as opposed to a letter-based one. However, this approach contains problems, as well; students become, to borrow a phrase from John Kennedy Toole, a "steely-eyed accountant" in checking and re-checking the value of their education. (Toole's observation of this quality in students, in "A Confederacy of Dunces," suggests that it is not a new development.)

In high school, I would occasionally confab with teachers over tests I'd done egregiously badly on, and if they happened to notice a few stray points I might have merited, they'd tack them on. That was all I did ... Bad grades provoke outrage from both students and parents. Of course students would want to avoid anger at home. But students have to realize that life doesn't end with a bad grade; one of college's intangible lessons is recognizing that adversity exists and dealing with it. That's worth any A.


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