This time of year is not just the pinnacle of the silly season as well as the abandonment of healthy eating, financial irresponsibility, and magical thinking of all kinds. It is also the season of Hail Marys, which are the last-ditch attempts of students to avoid academic reckoning. Students who failed to turn in assignments on time, or not at all, then plead with you to turn their low C into a B, or even an A. Sometimes they even want a D or an F to become a C or a B. Their excuses run from possibly penitent “I’m sorrys” to wild tales of terrible human tragedies that no one apprised you of when they were supposedly occurring.
On the other hand, it’s the season of love and compassion, of peace and forgiveness.
The dilemma that faculty face is whether they should enable the lazy student, trust the excuse, and take a flier on the bad luck story, or stand firm and resist both grade inflation and the possibility of being taken for a ride. I never want to be the one responsible for the grade that tanks a student . . . but I often wonder how a poor student got to my junior level ethics class to begin with.
The end of winter semester torments me much more than in the spring. Everyone wants a miracle. Why not my students?