Posted by: unlikelygrad | March 23, 2010

awards for my students

After certain events of the last few weeks, I feel compelled to give out awards to a few of my students:

(1) Viking Tough Medal: awarded to the guy (who looks about as “Viking” as it’s possible to do without wearing a horned helmet) who burned his hand badly on a hot crucible but didn’t make a peep. He calmly ran the hand under cool water and insisted that I didn’t need to fill out an accident report form, even though one of his fingers was badly blistered.

(2) Dedicated to Death Prize: for the girl who almost passed out in lab due to low blood sugar, but nonetheless insisted that she had to stay, because she didn’t want to fall behind. I finally convinced her that planting a facer into a beaker of acid was probably a bad idea. Next she refused a classmate’s offer to walk her home (she was very unsteady on her feet) because she didn’t want him to lose work time either. I let her rest in my office (with a cookie and a bottle of water) until she felt capable of walking.

(3) Biggest Ego Trophy: I advised the awardee that he was not following the directions in the lab manual, and told him that it would make a substantial difference in his results. (In Quant Lab, results are half of the grade and so are not to be taken lightly.) He told me that he thought I was wrong–that it wouldn’t make a difference at all. Really–does he think his 1.5 semesters of Gen Chem gives him more knowledge of chemistry than someone with a bachelor’s degree in the subject?

(FWIW, I graded his lab report today. His standard deviation was 12.5%!! So much for the procedural change “not affecting results”!!)


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