Saturday, April 29, 2006

Minor moments and worries

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.


  1. I'm with you on this worry. My director and most of the parents don't seem to understand about keeping sick kids home. So we'll have parents whose child was sent home sick trying to come back the next day, wether is was pink eye or throwing up. Often they're just try to dump the kid and run out before we can say anything since it's school policy that a child MUST be sympthom free for 24 hours. In cases of pink eye and other illness they MUST have a doctor's note.

    The parents bitch becuase heaven forbid some of yuppie mummies that stay home all day ANYWAYS have to deal with a sick child.

    And since so many of our children take vactions often to India, I'm worried on of this days someone is going to become horrible ill.

  2. Also, I'm parniod of peer reviews. Most likey as to do with having to trade my paper with someone whose spelling and grammar make me look like a English teacher. I seem to get this person every_single_time.

  3. Though I was initially skeptical, I am now a big fan and heavy user of Purell and other hand sanitizers. A student came to class week before last with 'an eye infection'--she had on sunglasses, didn't want to come into class and turned in her work. I put it down and used the Purell immediately. I use it before I eat, before I touch my eye, after I blow my nose and after I touch anything left in a classroom. Not only are our students the usual cesspools of bacteria, viruses and whatnots all children their age have, they are all in a confined living space that also serves as their eating, socializing and 'learning' space.

    I am hoping the flu doesn't hit the 'campus.' If it does, I may teach online from home for the sake of myself and family.

  4. History Geek - with our students, it's more a matter of judgment. And it's not easy: I WANT them in class, except I don't want them being contagious in class.

    Some students come to class no matter how sick they are; others won't come if they feel the least indisposed. Somewhere, there's got to be a balance.

    G Bitch - Oh, Purrell is a GREAT idea! I do have some stuff in my office, but I usually just walk to the restroom and do a regular soap and water wash after classes or whatever.

    It's mostly worrying about my friend right now, I think, that's got stuff on my mind.

  5. The apointment thing makes me bonkers -- They have a standing appointment with ME and the class. I'm not sure why my class gets dumped? I make my appointments outside of class time, they can do the same. In many cases I'm TEACHING more classes than they are taking, if I can do it so can they.

    I finally got fed-up last semester and announced that partial class attendance isn't acceptable. They should plan to come for the whole class or not at all. If their appointment was important enough to miss part of the class, they should make sure they are on-time -- so they shouldn't come to class at all.

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