An Open Letter To Professors Who Assign Group Work

An Open Letter To Professors Who Assign Group Work

In the classroom, there is NO strength in numbers.

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There is something to be said about the workings of a well-oiled machine. The swift cohesion of pieces working together to create a masterful finished product. Each individual part bringing its own unique gifts and interesting character together to create an impeccable arrangement of academic collaboration. It is absolutely awe-inspiring that professors dream of this sort of outcome from the random chunk of students that they forced together. So sorry to break it to you, professors, but the group project you assign in your class is not going to work like this. The final product will not be a meticulously crafted work of art. It is going to turn into a flaming disaster as your bitter students shamefully share the work they have thrown together.

Group projects are the bane of my, and most students', existence. You assign them in large lecture halls, small discussion courses, and every class in between. Most of the time you assemble the members of each group yourself, creating the saddest excuse for a team to ever grace the planet. This leaves the students no choice as to who they will be working with, which essentially makes the grade out of the individual's hand because they have no power over which random stranger will be tossed into their group. In the rare occasion that you do not assign the groups yourself, you leave the fear-stricken students to frantically gather their own clusters of people. This is just as bad because in this case students typically choose groups based on geographical location in the classroom, their seats that they chose on the first day of class and never got around to relocating.

Regardless of how they were gathered, every group project will introduce your students to a dynamic range of personalities. There is the one super intense leader that thinks this project grade is the single most important moment of their entire life, and if everyone does not commit their full selves to it they will actually burn the school to the ground. Conversely, there is the lazy, weak link; who is consistently dropping the ball on the group's shared research document and honestly none of the other group members even know what this person looks like because they skip class so ridiculously much. There is the one person who works every second of every day and can never fit your group meeting into their schedule because their nannying job is so important (this is actually a subtweet at me, my apologies to all of my past group members, I just have a really busy schedule, okay). Please, do not subject your students' grades to depend on the work of these insane classmates. A student's grade should reflect their own, individual work, group projects skew and make that impossible.

I understand that you mean well by assigning these projects. You hope to teach us how to work well with others, a valuable communicative asset in the real world. However, in the real world, there are standards for hiring at a company and if a worker does not perform well they will be fired. There are no standards for getting into my psychology class, any student with a laptop and a break in their schedule on Tuesday and Thursday mornings is welcome to join the class. There are no standards for performance either. If a student does not perform well in a group project their grade will plummet, which to my surprise does not greatly bother as many students as I thought, as does every other member of the group's grade. So unfair, so unparallel to the real world. Stop comparing your English 101 class to the real world.

Please professors, just stop with the group projects. I will happily write all of the papers, study all of the lectures, and even read all of the chapters in my textbook. Just don't make me create another Google Slides presentation with a bunch of strangers again.

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Getting Straight A's In College Is Not Worth Failing Your Mental Health

A's are nice, but you are more than a letter.

Kate
Kate
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The idea of getting an A on every paper, every exam, every assignment, seems great. It can be known as a reassurance of our hard work and dedication to our 4+ classes we attend every single day.

Losing sleep, skipping meals, forgetting to drink water, skipping out on time with friends and family; these are the things that can occur when your letter of an A is what you are living for.

You are worth more than the grade letter, or the GPA number on your transcript.

Listen, don't get me wrong, getting A's and B's definitely is something to feel accomplished for. It is the approval that you did it, you completed your class, and your hard work paid off.

But honey, get some sleep.

Don't lose yourself, don't forget who you are. Grades are important, but the true measurement of self-worth and accomplishment is that you tried your best.

Trying your best, and working hard for your goals is something that is A-worthy.

Reserve time for yourself, for your sanity, your health, your mental health.

At the end of the day, grades might look nice on a piece of paper, but who you are and how you represent yourself can be even more honorable.

Kate
Kate

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10 Things Your Professor Says That Makes You Cry Right There In The Lecture Hall

Shoutout to all the professors who let you drop your lowest quiz grade.

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While we celebrate all the magic that December brings us, I can't help but remember what lies ahead. With only three semesters left, I feel as if I have college and professors down to a science. Syllabus week might seem like an extra week of break, but really it is where you can learn everything you need to know about the semester you have lying ahead of you. With that being said, there are certain things to listen for on syllabus week, and throughout the semester, that will let you know you have a rough road to ride.

1. “The final will be cumulative.”

eye roll

The key phrase that lets you know you are in for a semester of hell and a long finals week.

2. “Your grade will be an average of your 4 exams.”

math

Nothing worse than knowing your big first flunk is going to affect your final grade more than it should.

3. “Attendance will count for 10% of your grade.”

coffee

Better go out and get some coffee, because you are going to be waking up early every day for the next 3 months.

4. “There will be a group project.”

anxiety

Not only are you going to actually have to meet people in the class now, but you are also probably going to do the entire project yourself.

5. “Most people fail the first exam.”

thanks

Dear professors, this is NOT the way we want to start our semester.

6. “This is not an easy class. You will need to spend time reading each week to prepar for each class.”

read

Don't let the beginning of the year enthusiasm fool you. You will definitely not end up reading that textbook.

7. “The textbook is required and you will need the online code to submit homework.”

money

I swear professors think we are made of money. Do they not remember what it was like to be in college?

8. “You need to put away all technology during lectures.”

break phone

It is like a path back to grade school. Warm up your hands because you are going to be writing your notes this semester, and there is no way that you get it all right.

9. “Put away everything except a pencil. We are having a quiz.”

leaving

You can't trust a professor who gives pop quizzes.

10. “There will be homework following each lecture.”

squidward dying

Join a GroupMe or make a friend in the class because homework every night will make for a long semester if you are in it alone.

If you hear any of these ten things, prepare yourself for a tough semester. You can do it, but it won't be as easy as having a professor who doesn't take attendance!

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