Monday, November 13, 2006

Dear University Student #20

Do not turn in 3 or 4 weeks of missed homework, essays and assignments on the day midterm grades are due. Not only are you not my sole student but I see no reason to bust my ass because you didn't bother to apply yourself for the last EIGHT weeks.


Blogger oyster said...

You are heartless and cruel. Can't you make an exception just this once???

I'm sure #20 had a good story/excuse/explanation. Isn't this a time for a valuable lesson in pedagogic flexibility?

Mon Nov 13, 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

No. #20, none of the 5 times I see him/her each semester, has a good reason. This is not the kid who had the flu. This is not the kid whose father has pancreatic cancer. This is not the kid whose pregnancy went awry. This is the kid who realized s/he's missed most of the assignments and classes and is trying to pull a fast one by inundating me with paper at the last minute. "Pedagogical flexibility" in your estimation is let the kid off, forget about the standards and necessary skills that are part of the actual pedagogical framework of the course. This is not the student who has talked to me, who I have altered assignments and due dates for to make sure s/he does the minimum to show the maximum amount of learning and maximum number of skills.

Heartless? Cruel? Watch your fucking mouth.

Mon Nov 13, 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Bardiac said...

LOL, I think I just had a chat with #20s twin, way up here in cold country.

Mon Nov 13, 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger elle said...


Mon Nov 13, 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger The Combat Philosopher said...

Good for you GB! And oyster, I hope that you were joking. If you were not, then I hope that your pearls hurt!

However, I think I can top this story. I was teaching a class a while back in which, after the midterm and the usual 'drop carnage', one student who had not showed for the exam remained enrolled. About two weeks before the end of the semester, they started to appear again, for the first time since the third week of the semester.

A paper was handed in, as per requirements. To put it mildly, it was not very good -- basically rewarmed class notes, with extra added errors. It clearly was not up to passing standard. As I was running behind (too many speaking engagements, at bad times), I was not able to hand back the papers until the day of the final.

At the final, which was supposed to be two and a half hours long, the student lasted less than a half hour, picking up the paper as they left. A few moments later, the student returned wanting to complain about the grade on the paper. "I need this course to graduate!" they explained, "I have people coming in from California!".

This student really seemed to believe that I should pass them, so that they could graduate on time. When I pointed out small problems, like the matehmatical impossibility, they went full bore, wailing, crying, the whole nine yards, whilst other students were still in the same room writing the exam. I could not believe it.

I guess telling this individual that they should take their visitors to the lake was a little cruel, but I could not resist.

As for lessons in 'pedagogic flexibility', forget it. Learning to follow instructions is an important skill to learn too. Remember, these students can buy guns!

The CP

Mon Nov 13, 10:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a fellow educator, I can say that "pedagogic flexibility" is adjusting for different learning styles. "Pedagogic flexibility" is meeting outside class every day with students who (as a result of criminally neglectful secondary schools) are eager and conscientious yet functionally illiterate at the age of 18. "Pedagogic flexibility" is spending hours upon hours thinking about and crafting assignments that meet the student where s/he is in terms of both emotional and academic maturity. And it ALWAYS means cutting slack for the myriad students who have valid excuses for missing a deadline. "Pedagogic flexibility" is NOT enabling somebody who habitually disregards assignments and deadlines, who demonstrates outright contempt for higher education and those who deliver it, who seeks a degree in exchange for tuition and occasional attendence, to progress, ostensibly "educated," into a society where s/he may become the person who makes life or death decisions about our loved ones, engineers a levee system, or runs for public office! That, Man, is not only the most "cruel and heartless" thing an educator can do to a student, but to the rest of us as well!

Mon Nov 13, 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

In my fury and haste, I meant to write "#20, none of the 5 times I see him/her each semester, ever has a good reason."

Thanks for more clarification on the real meaning of "pedagogical flexibility," anonymous!

Wed Nov 15, 06:47:00 AM  
Anonymous ashley said...

I say you just put this in your class policies, because you know you'll have to repeat this every damned semester.

Thu Nov 16, 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Lisa said...

I always struggle with whether put this kind of stuff in policies, because I feel a little like my syllabus begins to get really long and legalistic if I cover every single way in which students will test things. For example, I recently had a student in a pro practice class over the summer go to set of interviews with internship employers with *an entirely fictious resume.* "You didn't say we had to use ours." Or, last spring I caught a guy looking at porn on his laptop in the middle of lecture. So...the laundry list could get big.

I just say "No late work" and refuse to look at it if it's even a minute past the deadline. Because if you do accept it a minute late...then the kid 30 minutes late wants to get credit, and then kid a day late wants credit and your brain suddenly dissolves and become unable to function beyond raving and drool.

Good luck, g bitch.

Thu Nov 16, 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

Generally, my policy is "No Late Work." Most homework I don't accept late. I may take one assignment I need to see to determine if they "get it" or not. (They don't get full credit if they get any.) And the students I do allow to turn in late things, I tell them these items stay at the bottom of the grading pile and I get to them when, and if I can. Shit. Heartless? Too much heart. I need more ice in my arteries.

But 99% of the students who pull this stuff do not pass.

Fri Nov 17, 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger oyster said...

"Heartless? Cruel? Watch your fucking mouth."


Yes, I was joking. Unfortunately, long ago, I had to deal with situations similar to the one you described.

Tue Nov 21, 11:19:00 PM  

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