I consider peer editing pretty darned important in my classes, and I make that clear in my syllabus for each class.
And yet, during peer editing (or almost any other given day), a student packs up half-way through the time, and as he walks by me to leave, says, "Is it okay if I leave? My mom made an X appointment for me."
What am I supposed to say? "Nope."
You're in college, what do you mean your mom makes appointments for you? Didn't you tell her you had class?
I'm not sure if the students aren't communicating with parents (not telling parents when they have classes, perhaps because they don't consider classes important), or if parents don't really think classes are important, and so schedule appointments whenever? Or is it just so darned impossible to get any appointment that if you get one, you take it even if you have class?
Maybe I have my priorities wrong, but getting your hair cut, your teeth cleaned, your annual physical are all important, but more important than being in MY class?
Of course, if you're having X kind of emergency, then yes, by all means. But routine stuff, not so much.
On the other hand, there's the student who thought s/he had strep earlier in the semester: at the beginning of break, walks up to me and says, "I think I have pink eye. I shouldn't even be in class because it's so contagious. Can I just give you my assignment and go?"
Yeah, I really really want your assignment from your contagious hand. And I'm really glad you came to class and did group work with your peers. What were you thinking? (This being his/her second case of pink eye this semester, I'm guessing s/he's not thinking about hygiene quite enough?)
It's that time of the semester, when little things just seem to be too much.
Not that I'm paranoid, but I'm sort of worried about mumps. I'm young enough not to fall into the "born before 1957, must have had mumps and be immune" category, and old enough not to fall into the "had a double dose" category. (I have my WHO records from my Peace Corps days, so I can actually tell you the dates of all my stupid vaccines.) I'm in the "had a single dose because that's what they did back then" category.
(Though I've had re-ups of measles, for example. Go figure.)
Watching students get repeated pink eye, pass coughs, and such, I can easily see how mumps could race through a college community hard, even if only 10% aren't immune.
And again, I'm not paranoid. But the contagious for several days before you have symptoms thing worries me.
I have a friend whose immune system is shot from chemo, and I worry about accidentally exposing him/her to anything. Mumps seems especially worrisome. (I worry about the accidental transmission thing when I have a runny nose during a bike ride, or sneeze, or whatever.)
Now, mumps hasn't yet made it to our community, but it's hit the midwest in some areas, and seems especially transmissable amongst students.