November 20, 2008

I should start a separate blog for teaching vents

Posted in Teaching traumas at 1:22 pm by Erin

So again, feel free to ignore this one.

A student e-mailed me last night to say that he was really sorry, he couldn't come to the test on Monday because he had to go out of town, and could he take it any other time.  I e-mailed back to ask what was the reason that he suddenly had to leave town on Monday since the test was on the syllabus on that date back in August.  I thought maybe he had some sort of family emergency and was already leaving town, and knew he wouldn't be back by Monday (trying to give him the benefit of the doubt). 

He said he was going to visit family and was really sorry that he hadn't been on top of the flight arrangements but didn't think he could get it switched.  Mind you, we had class yesterday afternoon.  Did he say anything then?  No.  He chose to wait until the last possible minute and then e-mail me, rather than talking to me in person.  I have had several other students who've had the same issue (family members making their flight arrangements without asking them about their schedules), but every one of them came and talked to me about it weeks ago.

I checked my syllabus to see exactly what my written policy is for the class, and it is that they must inform me as soon as possible, all make-ups are essay-style, instead of partly multiple-choice, and they will be given on the first possible date after the scheduled test.  I wrote back that this was the policy and that I would let him do a make-up, but that I had didn't believe that he had just booked the tickets the day before and that he had actually informed me "as soon as possible".  I said something about how it showed a lack of responsibility for his coursework to procrastinate informing me about this until the last minute.

He felt it appropriate to write back and say something to the effect of "I'm sure you can relate in my procrastinating since you haven't written the test for Monday and sometimes don't get PowerPoints up until right before class."

WTF???????????  I'm sorry, what makes you think that's something appropriate to say?  There is a huge difference between procrastinating telling me that you aren't showing up for a test that's been scheduled for 3 months and me working on my PowerPoints until class time because I simply did not have time to finish them earlier.  Or between procrastinating telling me about your flight arrangements and me deliberately waiting to write the test to see what material we've covered before then.  I rarely procrastinate professionally (because I stress about things until they're done, and it's just not worth the stress).  I've been writing the test for the class that I have before that one.  I've been writing lectures for the classes I will see between now and Monday.  Guess what?  You are NOT MY ONLY TEACHING PRIORITY.  There is a BIG difference between prioritizing and procrastinating.

Must go write a test now…ha ha.



  1. My Reality said,

    I am in shock. Hasn’t this kid ever been taught respect???

  2. Eva said,

    That kid’s an idiot. What does he think he will accomplish by talking to you like that? You’re the one doing the grading!
    I just had a student did this. The day before the presentations he emailed me to tell me he was going to be away for a friend’s baby shower in NYC. Does nobody plan in advance anymore?

  3. JessPond said,

    Oh my gosh wow. That kid. Not so smart.
    I mean even if he THOUGHT IT he can’t SAY IT!! And if he thinks he can, he’s not going to go far!!!

  4. May said,

    I think my head just exploded.
    And I think his make-up exam just got a lot harder!!
    (You give them your powerpoints? You’re much nicer than me!!!)

  5. lucky#2 said,

    Wow – he needs to be bitchslapped!!! I think this shows two problems with the younger generation. 1) they are SO technologically focused that it was easier to hide behind the keyboard than to tell you to your face. 2) they feel entitled to everything NOW. Partly to blame: helicopter parents and never learning to respect elders.
    I agree – his make up test should definitely be harder. Since, aren’t you teaching one more important concept BEFORE you give the test next week! 😉

  6. thalia said,

    extraordinary. Absolutely extraordinary. I just wish there was an appropriate come back for you.

  7. Betty M said,

    Only just come to this but it is astonishing. What possessed him? Grade A idiot there.

  8. jason kenny said,

    Interesting, but usual =)

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