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Friday, September 08, 2006

Sinners in the Hands of a Lesser Grade

Talking to parents is sometimes difficult. I had this student who failed a paper on Jonathan Edwards and his use of persuasion in his sermons. Naturally, I got a phone call from the parents of this student. This was only after they had called the principal and the counselor to complain. There's nothing like good parent/teacher relations and clear lines of communication. I wonder if the parents would like it if I sent their kid's report card to their neighbors and his grandparents before I sent it to them.

The parents' stance was that since their child was a devout Baptist that she could in no way understand Puritanism. Well, of course, one is Protestant and the other is--wait a second...

As for the conversation on the phone, I've had boxcar rides go smoother. I think that they were disappointed that the ol' religious beliefs trump card didn't work. I had to explain that the paper was on persuasive techniques (rhetorical questions, appeals to emotion and whatnot) and not on Puritanism. I'm sensitive to the fact that students have a hard time with some of the subject matter due to their beliefs. That's why I always have alternative reading assignments. What bothers me, though, is that the literature is only insensitive to religious beliefs... after the grade is given.

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