And Yet I’m The One With No Integrity

From an awesome reader, here is an excerpt out of Tim Ferris’ Four-Hour Work Week.

She (the reader) says it “it made me want to tear my hair out.”

This should offer a little insight into just what kind of world today’s professors live and work in.

For all four years of school, I had a policy. If I received anything less than an A on the first paper or non-multiple-choice in a given class, I would bring 2-3 hours of questions to the grader’s office hours and not leave until the other had answered them all or stopped out of exhaustion. This served two important purposes:

  1. I learned exactly how the grader evaluated work, including his or her prejudices and pet peeves
  2. The grader would think long and hard about ever giving me less than an A. He or she would never consider giving me a bad grace without exceptional reasons for doing so, as he or she knew I’d come a’knocking for another three-hour visit.

Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.


Also, seriously fuck that guy. Fuck. That. Guy.

19 thoughts on “And Yet I’m The One With No Integrity

  1. The last time a student gave me that kind of grief, I said, “I see after careful evaluation that I’ve actually inflated your grade,” and then demonstrated from rubrics and careful error counts that the grade should be one or two letter grades lower than it was.

    And that was the last time a student gave me any grief. Or even did a grade appeal.


  2. Everything I’ve ever read about that Ferris guy has suggested to me that he’s a total asshole. Also, it’s not inconceivable that he just made up that whole grading story.


  3. We had a prof at SF State who used to GIVE a test on the second day of class and give everybody D’s and F’s so that the grade-obsessed would drop the course. The D’s and F’s, of course, never counted for anything in the final grade. Date: Wed, 14 May 2014 20:57:18 +0000 To:


  4. This is awful, but not surprising, considering this is the same Tim Ferris whose 4-hour premise basically comes down to a) generating as much passive income as possible, b) “delegating” as much labor as possible to 3rd world virtual assistants who work for pennies on the dollar, and c) using vacations as a way of getting medical care free or cheaply in countries that either have low cost or universal health care systems. So basically, he’s like the anti-Christ to the DIY, think globally, act locally movement.


  5. Do the people who seriously read him fail to see that this whole genre of which Ferris is a part is completely useless and idiotic? Seriously? “Hey, are you out of a job? Please, spend your precious, hard-earned, hard-saved money on my manifesto so I can tell you why I’m super amazing-awesome-lazy and make BILLIONS!” Why do I bother getting out of bed? And the commentator who suggested the whole story is a fraud is probably right. Though I could also see how interacting with him would make one want to stab one’s face off. So if he thinks he won due to his superior negotiating skills, let him have the fantasy, I guess?


  6. In Australia, where I work, he’d be flagged all right. He’d lose every. single. appeal. Every one. The teachers would all know him, and would all know to not take much notice. He’d leave, presumably with some education, but a low grade average, mainly to get him out.

    Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable to get feedback about your grade: I have no problem with that, and actively encourage it. And, yes, occasionally mistakes happen and the system falls down, which is why we have an appeals process. But don’t try and rort the system: you’ll go down…


  7. Wouldn’t this behavior (at least in certain jurisdictions, probably only Canada) count as forcible confinement? If a student ever pulled this on me, I’d hope I’d just walk out of the room, or tell them official office hours are over, have a nice day, come back tomorrow. Then again, I’m also inclined to think this is fictional (because seriously, who does this ?! Also 2-3 hours of questions on a multiple choice test? What did you end up asking by the end? Why are these questions formatted in a san-serif? How was the weather when you prepped the test?).

    But to advertise this as a life plan is … something else.


  8. I’m sorry you’re dealing with crap as a result of your honesty on grade inflation. One of the first things that struck me when I started teaching on college campuses was: what, really? THIS is college “writing” and “speaking”? It became clear to me that there is a complicity, a system set in place, where mediocrity is graded as A and B and that you better not rock the boat, either. Sad.


  9. I am happy to take grade appeals, they must be written and any appeal for a regrade means that the previous grade no longer stands and the new one may be higher or lower than the original, all questions or aspects of the assignment in question will be reevaluated. Also office hours are that one hour at a time, and then you must leave. So few students would EVER try the bullshit outlines and actually I wish more of them would come to office hours, I can help – really! I do, however, have everything lined up to deal with this kind of crap.


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