The professor writes back:
An A- paper is an excellent grade, and so is an A- participation. A full A demands exceptional work in all respects. Your paper was excellent, yet not exceptionally so.
A- is excellent work. A is outstanding work, in all respects. You worked outstandingly hard, I very much enjoyed your presence in class, but I grade essays, not efforts, not character.
I never before in three years of teaching career received a complaint for an A-, yet an understand your ambitions, and I will gladly read your paper again.
You will understand, however, that I can not alter your grade only because you need it--I ethically can't--and I only strive to be fair.
Now here is my ORIGINAL e-mail:
I am sorry to bother you this summer, but I was told by the registrar
office and *the director* that the best way to resolve my concern regarding my
final grade was to e-mail you first. Due to the nature of the final
paper being worth 50% of my grade, and having not received the grade I
was expecting in the class, I feel that the best approach to reaching
any resolve in this matter is to see my final paper and an explanation
for my grade.
I consistently worked extremely hard throughout your class, received an
A on the midterm, and was told by you that my participation was
"excellent"; however, my final grade was an A-, and while I realize
this is a good grade, unfortunately it has deterred my main goal this
year to reach a GPA with honors by less than a tenth of a percent.
I don't wish to contest my grade without giving you a chance to inform
me of the inadequacies that were apparently in my final paper. I
adhered to the guidelines you specified for the paper, spoke with you
many times regarding the direction it was going (which you expressed
positively about) -- hopefully you understand my confusion as to where I
may have gone wrong.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter, and again I am sorry
that I have to bring this up at all. I hope your summer has been
pleasant so far (I certainly am enjoying this beautiful weather).
Honestly, as pissed as I was, I think I handled it pretty well.. and was I asking for her to CHANGE my grade? NO. In fact I said I "don't want to contest the grade until I give you a fair chance to explain the grading.."
Man that really angers me when they try to put themselves in more of an authoritative position by skewing my question, trying to make me look downright foolish. Who in their right mind would just say, "yo change my grade." honestly. Gah. And now I notice I she CCed it to the director whereas I forgot to CC my response, where I clarified her assumptions ("No I am not asking for you to change my grade.. yes I want an explanation/commentary for the paper/grade due to the extent it was worth in the decision of my final grade."... "No I am not 'complaining'.. as you so nicely put it.. so you can rest peacefully knowing that still in your '3 years of your career' you haven't had to deal with this" .. ok so I didn't really write that entire last quote.. but I feel like writing it..).
I'm done venting.
"By the way, biatch, I discovered I reached honors this semester afterall without your A.. so you can also know that I'm not doing this because I *need* anything from you."
ok. so that was inappropriate, maybe.
I didn't send that comment either, but tempting (and I realistically did reach a position of honors, I wasn't looking at my overall cumulative.. now it's just about keeping it that way)..