Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ratchem fratchem know it all TA

Last night / early this morning, I was plagued by mocking dreams. I was at a State School class (something like Mr. S's, but undefined, really), and completely unable to get a handle on the discussion. I recall that everyone got it except me and that I was standing out as an idiot. Also that the discussion was somehow centered on philosophy, which made it worse because that was my major. In the dream, I felt completely baffled and humiliated. It felt so real, that once I woke up, I had to remind myself that this hadn't actually happened. It's weird, because I never have dreams of unreadiness or social / intellectual inadequacy. It was a disturbingly vatic dream, it turned out.

(Synchronistically, at work today Spookytooth asked me if I was still married and said she'd had a dream I'd gotten divorced. I had no comment. Did she really have such a prophetic dream, or did she just notice that I no longer wear my wedding band? Or has word gotten around to everyone by now?)

After work, Mr. S's class. I sat through Mr. S lecturing straight from the book and telling us exactly what would be on next week's test. At the end of the period, I retrieved my homework, and was shocked to see a B rather than an A, as I got on the first assignment. I truly was stunned for a bit. I stayed 15 minutes after class ended (and this is getting to be late at night, remember) to talk with the TA (who grades all the work and tests for S, the big shot) about the notes he'd made on my paper. When we talked, he made a few noncommital comments like "I see your point" or just "yeah," but he made at least one constructive comment along the lines of, "If you'd typed out what you just said, I would have...," etc., etc. Still, of course, he didn't even begin to suggest that my grade should be altered. I don't know what I expected from talking to him, and I don't really know why I did it. I was just a bit taken aback. I haven't gotten a B since my first year as an MA candidate way back when, and that was a B+.

Why was I so upset over what is really a fairly petty matter (one grade on one weekly assignment in one class)? Don't know. Is it perhaps because, as I have no relationship, no serious career, no family, etc., I figure my effortless academic excellence is all I have? That without turning in A quality work each and every time, I'm nothing? Is it because for once school has a qualitative practical purpose, that this is a career track certificate I'm going for? That my future placement as a teacher depends in part on these grades? Is it because I take this so seriously, doing a lot of non-assigned reading and extra work with the book? I guess I assume that if I'm interested and trying hard, I will not only get an A, I deserve an A.

I mean, the TA sits through Mr. S's lectures. Doesn't he see that the questions Mr. S gets as he mentions broad themes from the text ("Where is that? "What page?" "How do you spell that?") and their reactions to his book excerpts make it quite clear that few of them have even looked at the assigned chapters? I read every single line of the reading assignment. I simply cannot conceive that these college-age, pre-bac flakes who scoff at the class under their breaths and don't do the reading can possibly be turning in work that is worthy of As and Bs, while I turn in grammatical, well-spelled work that shows I have read and understood the material, and I get that same (or worse) B.

Now, what to do? Shall I redo the assignment (without asking or being asked to) and turn it in again, trying for a new grade? Should I forget it and concentrate on next week's test and doing better in the future? Should I meet with the TA again, or send him an email with some of these concerns?

Well, I guess I'll sleep on it. I have definitely not been getting enough sleep.

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