coffeesnob318: (Default)
[personal profile] coffeesnob318
To be fair, I will start out this post by saying that I really like my students this semester. They are interested and interesting and they do their work and come to class and don't offer lame excuses when they don't, for the most part. They have also been quite understanding with the upheaval in the schedule that various factors have rendered necessary.

But now they are doing their last group project, which is an interview. And most of the groups are doing ok. But one group is on my nerve. It seems that there is a guy that has pretty much taken on the project by himself. He stayed late to complain to me about how the rest of them never do anything. I listened as objectively as I could, but I have seen the group work together. He came to the first meeting for this assignment with everything already planned for a topic that none of the rest of them knew anything about. The choice he left them was to say, "I don't think that's a good idea for our group," (which is totally what I would have done) and wasted all the time he spent or to go along with it and not be able to contribute that much. So when he said that he was tired of doing everything, I responded by suggesting that perhaps a good way not to get stuck doing everything would be to, well, not do everything. To choose a topic that they could all agree on and work equally on. Hell, even to choose a topic together.

He didn't like it. He got a little huffy with me, actually, which, as you all know, goes over so very well with me. He said, "When I was in high school (flub #1), I learned - and my parents agreed (flub #2) - that if I wanted anything done well, I had to do it myself." Then he ranted and whined at me about how they should be able to go with any topic he gave them. So basically, he wants them to accept his doing all the work but also to do some of it so that he doesn't have to do it. I'm not sure that I ended up understanding what it is he wanted, because it all seemed very irrational.

Student - if you don't want to be the one doing all the work, then maybe leave some work for the others to do. If you don't, you forfeit your right to complain about it. I empathize with your bad past experiences working with groups - we've all had nightmarish group issues. But you need to realize that those things are, indeed, in the past and the current group you are with is not exhibiting the behavior that you are projecting onto each of them. They seem very frustrated that there is nothing for them to do but try to make sense of this job market that they know nothing about. They don't want to coast through any more than you want them to. So leave high school in high school - this is a different animal. I'm sorry that your teachers and parents were such enablers to allow you to carry the whole burden of group projects on yourself, but that's not going to fly here. This is a college course in communication, which includes learning to work better in teams. In my class, when I say "group project," that is what I damn well mean. The process is just as important as the product. If what you produce isn't the result of a group effort, I don't see any reason that I am obligated to give you a grade on the assignment. And in a real interview situation, no one is going to care nearly as much about what you know or how efficient you can be at the technical aspect of your job if you come off as an arrogant jackass. No one wants to hire the snotty know-it-all because no one wants to work with the snotty know-it-all. That is something you need to overcome, and there are people in your group that can teach you to do so if you will just UNCLENCH and let them.
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