At the Risk of Repeating Myself
(This is where I may have told this story before): I came home and repeated my experience to my stupid post-college boyfriend. "Why," I asked, completely flummoxed, "Would he prefer to manage women over men - like it was the easiest choice, ever?" SP-CB said, "Simple. Because most men think they're better than they actually are, and most women think they're worse than they actually are." Which brings me to . . . my point. Yes, you knew I had one you patient little readers, didn't you?
I may have mentioned the aftermath of posting grades. I hate it. I always feel like I'm sending a bomb threat to an elementary school when I click the "submit" button in the online gradebook. I try to do it late at night, but it doesn't matter - I always find several interesting/furious/incomprehensible e-mails waiting for me the next morning. A few days ago, I posted students' grades from their midterm. Within less than 12 hours, I got this e-mail:
Hi Teacher Lady this is Steve from your sexuality class on mondays. I was just wondering what questions i got wrong on the test and if i could possibly see you in your office hours whenever they are. I just wanted to see my test because i felt really confident about that test after i took it, because i studied that study guide really good and i just thought i would have done better on the exam than i did. So if you could please e-mail me back i'd appreciate it. Thanks!
Here's where the male/female thing comes in. Maybe. Much to the annoyance of my college roommates (and now my husband), I often had either NO sense of how I did on an exam, or had a strong sense that I completely bombed it. Just last semester, I told Mr. J. how I thought I had bombed a particular midterm of my own. He looked at me and said very clearly, "I do not want to hear it anymore. Do you know who are you? You are the girl everyone hated in undergrad. You're the girl who cried, 'Oh, I think I failed' after the exam and then skipped out of class the next week because you got the highest grade." It sounds harsh in this rendition, but believe me, it was more funny than anything. And sure enough, the next week I came home, tail between my legs, hoping he wouldn't ask how I did. Because I did really, really embarrassingly well.
But in undergrad, when I did kind of blow it, I always thought, "Yeah, that seems about right." Or, "Well, what can I expect - I pretty much suck and oh yeah - I probably should have read the book." It NEVER occurred to me that I might have done better than my grade indicated.
Is this a male/female thing? (Although I have had one female student send me a similar e-mail, mostly these are from male students). Or is this a Teacher Lady has no self-awareness and a pathetic lack of self-esteem thing? Maybe it just boils down to confidence, but when you've gotten a low "C" on a midterm and you find that somehow impossible, does that cross the line from confident to cocky? Or maybe just completely delusional? I don't know. What has been your experience with this? I'd like to know your thoughts as a student (at some point in our lives, we've all been students, right?) or as a teacher, if that's your chosen profession.
Teacher "I think I'm worse than I actually am" Lady.