Reading a storify about #overlyhonestsyllabi this morning, and these two tweets by Dr. Isis rang particularly true:

For the record, here are my two contributions:

The 2nd one is actually honest, because it is actually in my syllabus. The first one is actually honest, too, but not in my syllabus for fairly obvious reasons. The tweet robs the 2nd of its context due to length. It's part of the "How to do well in this class" part of my syllabus, here it is in full:

Please don’t ask what your grade is, then walk away: If all you care about is the grade you get, why should I care about anything else, either?

The point about what you say and what students hear was never brought into more stark relief than my 2nd-3rd year teaching. I told my lab sections (or I thought I did - perception, etc) that when I graded them, I ranked them in order all together to make sure that I was being consistent. If the worst one was a B+, so be it, if the best one was a B+, so be it, I just wanted to make sure I was grading everyone the same. It was meant to reassure them that I wasn't just assigning an arbitrary grade. Simple, right? Here's what a non-zero number of them heard: "I will be handing back your lab reports in order of performance." Eek!

Do what I mean, not what you hear

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