Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Victim or Personally Responsible?
I'm having students write a book report on Baruch Halpern's David's Secret Demons. One student wrote something up over the weekend and asked me to look at it. I read it on Sunday, and put my comments on the paper. It wasn't very good. It had very little to do with the book, and had much more to do with this student's experiences with Jesus and Sunday School. Anyway, the book speaks at length about archaeology, and I commented that readers of her book report would be shocked to find that Halpern talks so much about archaeology, as her report doesn't mention it at all. The student was very upset, and commented that she didn't include archaeology because she didn't understand what Halpern was talking about in those sections. This student blamed me for being a bad teacher, and that was why her book report was so bad. This student has never seen me in office hours, or asked questions in section when we covered this material. She never showed up for a section when we went over how to write a book report for this book, and talked about archaeology in detail. Anyway, it got me thinking about the lack of personal responsibility, about how if you are doing bad in a class you don't need to take credit, but rather you can blame the teacher for not being qualified. Good thing this student wasn't taking classes 20 years ago when she would have to conclude that perhaps her grade was based on the work she was doing.

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