Another Post on Passive Aggressiveness. Featuring: My Very Own Student.

From one of my students yesterday:

Hi Tara,

Last weekend I posted two of my papers on Facebook to get friends’
responses and feedback… responses were great.  I also have a friend
who is a second year (a peer of yours) to whom I also submitted two of
my papers to see which they thought would be best to revise.  It was
interesting (to say the least) to see how different people, even
within the same cohort, would grade/rate the same papers, and the
different feedback that is received from each individual.

— Thanks,

[P. Aggressive]


My initial response was to email P. Aggressive back and say, “And your point is . . . ?” or “Spit it out, bud,” or “Interesting that you would send me this email with no point.” Instead, I emailed him this response. Note my comments in the brackets, which were not originally part of the email:

Hi [P. Aggressive],

I went ahead and entered those extra credit points for you. [Which I now regret.]

It seems [because I can only assume since your email was very PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE] as though you might have questions about the grades you’ve received on your last two papers. Please know that you can come talk to me at any time about your grades, especially if you’re unsure why, for example, my grading policies differ from other teachers’. [Please know also that the term ends in two days and I’m not sure why you’ve never talked to me until now, and that I’ve only seen you smile and laugh in class . . . ] Of course teachers do have different approaches to grading; however, this section of Advanced Persuasive Writing has specific requirements and rubrics that differ not only from other advanced writing courses, but also from Writing 150 in both quality of presentation and ideas. [AKA: It doesn’t matter if you talked to your mom, or your friend, or even someone in my cohort who doesn’t teach the same course or section as me.]

Feel free to email me with any questions regarding your upcoming final paper-I definitely don’t want you to feel confused or frustrated about my expectations [Which I go over and over and over and over and over in class. Also, why haven’t you talked to me about your questions? Do you not ask questions, but only make statements?].


[Ps. Thanks for making me feel crappy again for all the work I’m trying so hard to do for you.]

Stay tuned for his response. And then my response. Because it only gets better and more P. Aggressivey.


3 Replies to “Another Post on Passive Aggressiveness. Featuring: My Very Own Student.”

  1. Brilliant. Personally I’d have just stopped after saying you entered the extra credit points and ignored the whole passive aggressiveness because I’m an avoider like that, but your approach not only addresses the problem directly and justifies you and your grading methods, but does it all diplomatically and in such a way as to foster dialogue and allow for any misunderstanding to be resolved amicably. I’m seriously impressed with this email.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s