Blog Archive

Are you flippin' serious?

An Open Letter to Students:

Don't do this....

It is Week 10 of an 11 week semester. Two hours into my four hour long class, the door opened and a student stepped in while I was standing there lecturing. He was holding a backpack and looked a bit disheveled.

"May I help you?" I asked. The student was unknown to me and, despite having a heavy caseload, I do know all my students by name.

"My name is (removed to protect student from embarrassment)."


"I'm in this class."

"Oh, Really?"

"Yes, I was here during week one. I kinda missed the past nine weeks... had some personal issues."

"Don't even think about it."

"I know. I know. But the dean said to come see you. They're going to kick me out of school... unless..."

I pointed to the door.

He slithered out.

C'mon, Folks! Every semester I get at least ONE scenario like this. What ARE you thinking? That you can buy your degree? That you can redeem yourself?

This final week before the semester ends... I cannot tell you the number of boo hoo phone calls I get about illness and deaths in the family, about car engines dying and lost books and crashed computers and lost term papers. My email box, my cell phone containing text messages... are filling up fastly.

It saddens me that something as important as education is attempted negotiated by students who never tried.

I could pontificate a lengthy diatribe here about the value of education and the ethics of hard work. But you, my faithful blog readers, have probably heard my yacking long enough... so much so that violins are playing in the background as you read this sad, sad tale.



Jilly said...

I was on a very tight schedule to complete my teaching certificate so even though I was very pregnant with my daughter and had to go to the doctor three times a week for the last trimester, i took a class.

The baby came early and I was in labor for three days before my emergency c-ection. The c-section was of course on the night of my class. The prof allowed for one absence before a letter grade was lowered. Therefore, next wednesday, the day I got out of the hospital, I was sitting in class. The prof yelled at me and told me to go home.

She explained to the class that I was one of the few people who actually had a REAL reason to miss class and that showing up seven days after having a baby showed an advanced case of responsibility. Moreover, at this time my guy and I both had 7am-3pm jobs and he was teaching at several colleges at night, incuding wednesdays while i was in my class.

When I was getting my MPA and BS degrees, I rarely missed class either. I paid to sit in class, so in class I sat.

My guy still teaches at several colleges in the evenings and when he starts to get the sob stories, he brings up the story of his crazy wife who went to class a week after a c-section because it was required of her. He also likes to talk about how I never filled the prescription pain meds for the C-section either. Apaprently, I'm really a nut.

Hang in there, there are some people who take school and responsibility seriously.


doreenmary said...

Jilly... Similarly (though this didn't take place in the classroom), when I was in labor with my second child, my boss and the secretary helped me track the minutes between contractions several hours before I actually delivered Kelly.

Roger D. Curry said...

Gee whiz, Doreen, get with the program here. This lad gave you an opening to screw with him - such as sending him to get written permission from some random yet very large group of people and writing an impossibly long research paper or something very, very obscure.


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