Mr. Byronic? I’m Worried About My Grade…

June 14, 2012


Hey, Kyle, what’s up?  Ah, you’re worried about your grade.  I see.  You realize today is the last day of the term?  Uh huh, sure, I guess now would be a good time to worry, that makes sense.  No, I don’t know what it will do to your grade if your final gets a bad grade.  Well, because I have 185 students, and also because I’m unsure on the math in terms of the exam against your personal, cumulative percentage, which I also don’t have memorized.  It will be what it will be, I guess.  What is your grade currently?

Let me just jot down some quick numbers to figure out your grade, here… umm… D… D… D… carry the one… looking like a D.

Ah, it’s a low D.  And this surprised you?  Well, I don’t know “how it could be a D-” either, off hand.  What did you get on the mid-term?  Okay, and the major paper?  Mm-hm, and the presentations?  Ah.  So, considering you got a D on the mid-term, a D on the presentation and didn’t do the major paper, I might think your current grade would be, well, less of a shock.  No, I’m not trying to make you feel bad.  I just wonder if you could have seen this coming, say 2 months ago when you didn’t turn in the major paper.  How come you didn’t turn it in?  Forgot.  Sure, that makes sense.

Sorry, I don’t know where that coughing fit came from.

Anyway, yes, I understand – you’re worried about your grade.  What are you wanting to see happen?  Ah, your concern is that I didn’t do enough to help you, is that right?  So the phone calls home?  The progress-reports?  The reminders to come get help?  My website where I list every assignment and upcoming due date?  The 24-hour a day access to your assignments and grades online?  You know you have access to that information online 24 hours a day, right?  Every assignment, every due date, every grade?  You do; good.  And when did you last check it?  Okay, see “never” is probably not the best approach to monitoring your grades.  Regardless, what is it you’re wishing I’d done, exactly, that I didn’t do?  You don’t know.  Hm, that’s a tough one, Kyle, because I don’t know either.  I’m not sure what the plan of action is, that you’re looking for here.

Well, the assignment was to write a paper on the shift from the late-19th century Eurocentric imperialism to Modernist existentialism, but, um, I suppose this could get… some… credit…

Okay, yes, you’ve already said that you’re really worried about your grade.  See, that’s still not actually doing anything about it.  What is it you’re wanting to do?  No, there’s really no extra credit you can do in the next hour to bring it up to a B.  Well, yes, I mean, I guess you could try to go write the paper and turn it in.  That would certainly help.  We did spend a month on that, and it requires 5 peer-reviewed sources, but I suppose you could try.  It’d still be 2 months late, of course.

Mmmm, I’m pretty sure that’s fair, Kyle.

See, that doesn’t give me hope, Kyle.  Because I don’t think your parents will “literally” kill you if you don’t get a B.  First off, if that’s “literally” true, we need to go to the police.  But, secondly, considering that the final was about examining the literal and figurative meanings within One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, your last statement doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in the quality of your final, grade-wise, regardless of your level of sudden worry, which you have made clear…

Okay, you know what?  I’m going to write down on this piece of paper right here that you are “Really, really” worried about your grade, and I will definitely keep that in mindwhen I’m entering grades.  How’s that sound?

Yes, great.  Okay, I will look forward to the call from your parents.  Thanks for the heads-up.

, , , ,

About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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78 Comments on “Mr. Byronic? I’m Worried About My Grade…”

  1. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Please…..please……please…..tell me that paper is not something that was actually handed in as complete. If so, I will have to assume you are teaching English to students from a hut that you converted into a classroom in a remote village, otherwise we are all in trouble if that generation is going to be caring for us in our old age.


  2. 1pointperspective Says:

    Oh…now I remember why I didn’t go into teaching! For a brief, fleeting moment, I had forgotten. Thanks Mr. B.

    I’m eager to see how “topicless bar” responds to this post.


  3. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson Says:

    Every teacher in the world understands this. Profoundly. Well done.


  4. Elyse Says:

    Oh, it’s all too real. I have to hire these folks. And their parents never come in to the office to help.

    Your student could do what my son does when he is doing poorly in school and there is a test coming up: he closes himself in his room and rearranges the furniture. Apparently that relieves more stress than actually studying.


  5. Curly Carly Says:

    “D…D…D…carry the one…”- hilarious!


  6. Go Jules Go Says:

    Ha! This is hilarious. I trust you always hold your ground. As a very Type A student, I was always TICKED about what some kids could get away with!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      It’s the lack of shame or remorse that always baffles me. Students who whine and trick and seem to feel that these are totally valid. I had a student who I had to pass once because of a loophole he pointed out (I had not notified his parents by phone of his failing grade within the required 2-week window, even though grades are posted online and I had emailed them within the window), despite his having, I believe 27% in the class. I gave him a whole eoquent lecture about how he’d gotten away with it, but not to ever think that he’d “passed.” His response was, “But I get the D? Cool.”


  7. Ape No. 1 Says:

    You, sir, have a patience far greater than mine and I imagine far better high school English grades.


  8. Soma Mukherjee Says:

    Speechless..that write up about Steven is one of the best,are you sure you have read it properly..cos its an A grade write up


  9. Michelle Gillies Says:

    Unfortunately, I have a feeling there is very little exaggeration on your part here. Teachers should get some kind of hazard pay for having to deal with this.


  10. susielindau Says:

    Now I am REALLY worried about my grade since I don’t remember turning anything in or taking any exams! I can see a test anxiety dream in my future…. 🙂


  11. RFL Says:

    I can’t believe this still doesn’t work on teachers! Very funny post; I’d love to hear the commentary if the parents do call.


  12. sj Says:


    Okay, see “never” is probably not the best approach to monitoring your grades.

    I LOVE THAT! Excellent post, as always, Mr Byronic.


  13. pegoleg Says:

    My oldest daughter would be the one in your office the day BEFORE class starts, getting to know you, asking about extra credit, etc. My youngest is Kyle-ish except she’s really smart, so she’d end up with the B after all.

    I think kids are born with their attitudes and all we can do is try to get them to understand actions and consequences.

    Oh, and that paper on the shift from late-19th century Eurocentric imperialism to Modernist existentialism should be made into a movie. Totally.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I had a student in some group for scheduling next year, and most of them are staring vacantly as I explain what they need to do. Then I asked if anyone had questions and this girl’s hand shot up and she said, “Yes. Who are you and what do you teach?”

      I liked her instantaneously.


  14. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    Only 185 students ? & you couldnt help this poor lad ? Teachers truly are the most undervalued human beings….of course, I dont know how we could pay you what you are actually worth – can you imagine the cost of tuition !!!! But hey, look at all the free blogging material
    “…. D…D…. carry the one…..” will be laughing all day !


  15. Remediator Says:

    At the risk of sounding like some tea party wacko, I wonder if “too big to fail” was preceded by “too precious to fail.” At what point did we decide that irresponsibility shouldn’t have consequences?


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      That’s a good point, Tea Party Wacko. I suspect it the last throes of the “self-esteem” movement that started in the 80’s, combined with “juking the stats” – it looks bad for schools to have fails, and they don’t have the staff to handle them – finally combined with this passivity that teaching is like fixing a car; that everything is up to the teacher to fix.


  16. Off the Wall Says:

    Here’s what bothers me the most about students AND parents today. “Oh, I have ADD. That means I get special dispensation etc. etc. etc.” Funny how EVERYONE has jumped on the ADD bandwagon whether they have it or not. Now, some really DO have it. But if you are lazy and bored and shiftless, you do NOT have ADD, you need some DISCIPLINE and maybe a swift kick in the butt.

    I bow down to teachers. I almost became one myself. I probably would have been thrown in jail.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I had a student once with a 64 oz Mountain Dew and two bags of Skittles in front of her saying she couldn’t focus because she had ADD. I said, “No. You don’t.”


  17. Love & Lunchmeat Says:

    Those are the same lazy students who frustrate everyone, their teachers, their parents, AND their fellow students.

    As someone who always manages to get sick during exams, and lugs it to each one, drugged and carrying a box of tissues and a plastic bag for putting them in, nothing is more frustrating than the students who constantly opt out and then “make it up at a later date”. (Meanwhile, the rest of us have to wait on getting back our tests because of those folks who are chronically sick, mourning the death of their dog, or… whatever.) Second to that aggravation, are the students who whine at the professor until the Prof gives in, and grants them a B or above. We’re all in the same program, and we all need B’s and above in order to stay in the program. That doesn’t mean the Professor owes it to you.

    Plus, you like to think that folks going into healthcare might actually want to learn this information in order to be halfway decent healthcare professionals… Well, I’m ranting, but next time you go to the doctor/nurse practitioner/whatever and they give you a blank stare/bad advice/a prescription for an antibiotic you don’t really need because they couldn’t be bothered to run a complete blood count… you’ll be remembering this post.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Very good point. Obviously no one wants to be in that position, but it would be so great if students felt more willing to call each other on their crap. Every now and then it happens, and it’s remarkably effective.


  18. Maggie O'C Says:

    You are a star and I am also reminded of why I could never be a teacher, especially for the older kids. I have two teenagers, I don’t need anyone else’s.

    Thank you for trying with the youth of America!


  19. Lenore Diane Says:

    You told me our conversation was private, Byronic! I can’t believe you recorded our telephone conversation. That’s just wrong. I’m going to report you, and THEN I’ll get my ‘B’.

    In other news, as my 14yr old nephew read his birthday cards over the weekend, he had to hand the card to someone else when the sentiment was written in cursive. He doesn’t know how to read cursive handwriting. WHAT?! He’s 14!!!

    This morning, I filled out a birthday card for my sister – writing it all in cursive. At the bottom I wrote (in cursive) ‘P.S. I hope you can read cursive.” Byronic, my 7yr old son saw the card (because he signed it) and he said, “That’s funny Mommy. I read that – because I can read cursive.”

    So sad.


  20. Audrey Says:

    Gees, you’re strict…
    Awesome post by the way! 🙂


  21. mj monaghan Says:

    I’m coming clean, B-Man:

    When I was in HS about a million yrs ago, I was taking a creative writing class – I LOVED it. Except that I made it to class – this is horrible – eleven times, in the whole semester.

    I should have gotten an F, for sure. But the teacher said, “I love you’re writing, and even though you’ve missed class so many times and I should fail you, I’m giving you a B because of the writing.” I will never forget that teacher, the class, or what he did.

    I never told my parents about it, they would have “killed” me for missing that many classes. I thanked the teacher profusely.

    I never skipped another class after that. Honestly. I felt like I had squandered learning from such a great teacher.

    So grateful there are teachers like you out there, who don’t cave to the kid and parental pressure. I know it seems insurmountable at times.


  22. Jackie Cangro Says:

    I used to teach English literature at a local college and I’m sad to say that the conversations weren’t much different.

    Except at that point they don’t issue vague threats of having their parents call the principal. They would threaten me by saying they were calling the dean personally because, you know, they were paying my salary. **

    ** To which my response always was: Well then you’re not paying me enough.


  23. mistyslaws Says:

    But did Kyle mention that he’s really really really really really really REALLY worried? I mean, would that change your mind? No? Hmmm, but what if he said he was super duper califragalisticexpialidociously worried? Still no? Man, you are tough. Are you sure you should be shaping the youth of tomorrow? You just seem a bit too hard assed to really help them out. I know. Let’s split the difference and just give him a C. Cool? Ok, then. Thanks.


  24. My Ox is a Moron Says:

    I had to laugh my way through this post. I am an obsessive-compulsive, perfectionist, over-achiever (I know because I can spell it AND say it). I would cry when I got a B+ because I was failing. My parents actually told an English teacher to fail my brother because he never turned anything in either, but then he would ace the test. Drove Mr. C absolutely nuts. I feel the same way about my own children. If you did not do the work then you get what you earned: “F”.

    I’ve wanted to be a teacher for a long time but I have the same problem as I did as a student. I would expect the students to be as commited and work as hard as I did. A few would like the challenge, the rest would hate me and I would probably tell the parents what I think about their child.

    A good teacher is God’s gift to the world because they change the lives of many.


  25. crpeterson Says:

    LOVE it. I work in school administration and this could NOT be more spot on.


  26. fairlightmaiden Says:

    Seeing as my mom is my teacher, I don’t think I could get away with any of this. And yet, the advantages of being homeschooled: Get up at nine, do three or four hours of work, ace the test, and move on with life. The best possible way to do high school.


  27. SzaboInSlowMo Says:

    My own kids do this. They start panicking at the end of the term. Ask them what their their major grades were and you can’t help but wonder why they’re not surprised. Especially when it’s a math grade and somehow they don’t even know how to find their own grade average. Sigh….but great post!


  28. alleybeth Says:

    Sad to say, I go to school with these people. *facepalm*


  29. jenlutar Says:

    Oh my goodness … Funny post, but really?? That was what was handed in to be graded, and by a student older than elementary age?? geez — I could NEVER be a teacher. How frustrating!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Actually, that was just a clip online – I thought posting actual student’s work could lead to trouble.


      • jenlutar Says:

        haha … I was kinda wondering about that 😉 I’m sure, since he was going to ‘literally’ be killed by his parents, he doesn’t need anymore trouble!!


  30. Sam Mitchell Says:

    Perhaps his parents were going to LITERARILY kill him. Savagely editing his tweets on the “sick new Decemberists sng”, or beating him with Iambic pentameter couplet insults. “I can’t believe we had a son like you. To fail each class and all our fears renew.”


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      There’s a great video on The Onion about a couple decided to have their 13 y/o daughter put to sleep because “she’s lost all brain capacity except the ability to text and roll her eyes.”


  31. Archon's Den Says:

    I’ve got two words. George W!


  32. W. R. Woolf Says:

    Oh so funny and oh so sad…

    I’ve met a few people like Kyle during school. I still don’t understand how they can neglect their assignments, not turn up for class and then a week before the exams they’re suddenly “very worried” about their grades… A bit late, no?

    Hopefully you’ve had some good experiences too?


  33. Valentine Logar Says:

    Why is it again we want every child through High School to feel they can do no wrong and there are no winners and losers? Only whiners and parents who believe their children should make the Honor Roll. Gak.

    Of course, teachers have to tolerate these forsaken snots whose parents will stomp into the classroom demanding a change to the grade with no change in the performance of their child (most of whom cannot spell, add, subtract or otherwise perform at their grade level).

    Then we send them all off to University so they can drink themselves into oblivion and whine when they fail. But we have the best system in the world and it is all the teachers fault, those terrible tax sucking leeches.

    Why does anyone go into this thankless profession? I use to ask my favorite mother this, she taught for 30 years (in West Texas). I still ask my Daughter in Law’s mother this, who is still teaching after 30 years (in Texas no less). I begged my DIL not to pursue her Teaching degree, she just finished last year and will try to find a teaching position, in Texas may all the Gods look down on her and weep.

    We should all be standing up and defending Teachers, armed if need be. Instead at least 40% of this nation stomp their feet and agree with the idiots who believe the GOP minions of Hell.

    I apologize for my rant.


  34. becomingcliche Says:

    I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Because you nailed it. This is the reality of teachers today. Especially the last sentence. PLEASE do a follow up!


  35. racheldeangelis Says:

    I didn’t realize you were a teacher! TEACHERS UNITE! 😎

    Kyle’s situation is all too common…I did my teaching internship at a middle school, and I remember a boy once bursting into tears after class because of a grade I’d given him. I didn’t really know what to do…I was kind of like, “There, there. [awkward pat on the shoulder] It’s your first ‘D.’ It’ll be okay.” But I didn’t change his grade! Later that same semester I gave a ‘D’ to a rich kid whose father was on the school board, and he was all smug like, “Wait until my dad hears about this! You’ll be FIRED!” And I was like, “They can’t technically fire an intern…I don’t even get paid for this…” But the principal of the school did approach me and make me change the kid’s grade, which was really aggravating. (It was especially aggravating having to look at that kid’s smug, “I own you” smile the rest of the school year.) That semester I felt like I learned more about what it’s REALLY like to be a teacher than I did during the other three-and-a-half years of college combined…


    • Paul G. Eberlein Says:

      My attitude toward the rich: When the food runs out, I will be the Morlock to your Eloi; when I butcher you and eat you for food, you’ll taste just like pork.


  36. Bruschetta. Says:

    As the only non smoker out of a table of 12 at a wedding engagement party, I decided to spend my 10 minutes alone reading my dear friend, Pap’s post forward. I laughed so hard I snorted out my drink. Good thing I’m alone. Wow this was perfectly written on behalf of every teacher no matter the subject. Thank you!!! Was a great laugh for 3 reasons. 1 ex lonely smoker needs something to kill time. 2 teacher! Enough said!!! 3 Holy crap! I did that to my high school Chemistry teacher! Shame fills my red face. But was worth the F because I met my lifelong best friend in summer school. Thank you Mr. Chemistry teacher. 😉


  37. Edward Kimble Says:

    It is entirely amazing to me how many times this conversation arose during my 40 years of teaching, students not seen for months at a time and with absolutely no excuse whatsoever would show up claiming an inviolate grant given by the Hohenzollern empire for a “really super grade”. Invariably this conversation then meandered into my supervisor’s office with myriad accusations of various high crimes and misdemeanors, problems best documented by actual attendance and grades rather than poorly written writs and letters of insistence . But my favorite was a particularly vicious red haired young woman, a phi beta kappa seeker with a C average in my advanced Bioscience. course. Aside from poor attendance, a stack of abysmal weekly quizzes locked in my safe (not the one broken into :-), documented cheating, and a special file in the Dean’s office a mile long, she insisted she would yell rape if I didn’t change her grade to an ‘A’, unfortunately she didn’t notice my secretary had come in behind her (Thank you Diane). She also was apparently unaware of the special powers of the Dean and the university records keeper to maintain record integrity despite her considerable hacking skills, yea good guys!!



  1. Boost a Fellow Writer | Life According to Julie - June 15, 2012

    […] Worried About My Grade Share this:FacebookPinterestTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted in Quotes, Random Musings, Writing […]

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