Explanation Given

Some interesting comments followed Explanation Wanted, a recent post prompted by my difficulties responding to a recommendation request from a former student.  (These comments appeared in my Google Buzz feed, not on this site.)  Two comments thought it a desperate response to the competitiveness of law school admission or a misinterpretation of law school application signals to favor a recommendation from a law teacher, even if the student received higher grades in other courses.  Personal or family issues may have caused the student’s performance that semester to suffer. (If that happens to you, clue in your teachers.)  I agree with the comment that “students can fall through the cracks.”  Some years back, concerned about some students who passed through my classroom like ghosts, I strongly encouraged every student to see me in office hours during the first six weeks of the semester.  About 80% of my students those semesters responded.  These meetings were helpful for me, but were inefficient.  The same comment noted that office hours “can be very problematic for students with high levels of commitment elsewhere, or for students who are particularly unadjusted to networking and communication with teachers (aka shy).”   Thinking also of my post about diminishing attendance at office hours, if students spend less time in face to face contact with faculty–whether because they are busy, or they think an email message is just as good, or they can’t see any benefit that will come from talking with a professor, the decline in the number of students I know well enough to recommend could provide me with abundant free time.

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