Wednesday, February 03, 2010

It's Only Wednesday

It's been a sort of frustrating day. Some of that's my fault, some not.

I have a junior level class, and they had an assignment today. About a third of the people said they didn't know about the assignment because I hadn't mentioned it the class session before. It was on the syllabus and we had discussed it on the first day of class, just over a week ago. But I hadn't reminded them.

Other people had lineation problems. I should have foreseen that, because I know different people are using different editions (from the library to save money and such), but I didn't.

Then there's the line of people after each class who need to tell me about their special individual problem that prevented this or will prevent that and they didn't do the assignment due today, but can they make up the quiz if there's one tomorrow even though it says on the syllabus that they can't make up quizzes except in exceptional circumstances but they have a job interview and it's important and they didn't check their class schedule when they scheduled the job interview on Monday and doesn't that count as exceptional even though they didn't do the assignment for today?

Mostly they're patient and explain the issue, and not at all unreasonable, but at least a quarter of each class seems to have basic issues with something and needs special consideration, which means some 20 people a day want me to remember their special circumstances, which they've told me as I'm erasing a board and trying to get to my next class.

But there's inevitably one student who just barges into another student's explanation because he's so important that he just can't wait. (So far today, those have all been men.)

Students are sick, too. One is supposed to be out for two weeks, and wants to know what he should do to keep up. That's ten hours of class missed. I don't know if he's too ill to work on class stuff now or not. (Is this two weeks of keeping an injured limb still but okay to write, or two weeks of throwing up and sleeping a lot?) I suggested if not getting notes from classmates and then going over what we'd done, and contacting me with questions, but I sure don't want to have to reteach ten hours of class. Nor do I blame the student for getting sick. But I also know that student notes might not be sufficient to help a sick student keep up. (It's a writing class; how many students take notes about the freewriting and other stuff or would remember what they did freewriting about? How do you reproduce group work?)

We had the third quiz in my comp class today. The quizzes are open notes, closed book. It says so in the syllabus. When I gave the first quiz, I told them that, then didn't collect the quiz, handed out a copy of my reading notes and talked about notetaking. The second quiz went fine. But today, a student complained that he'd taken notes in his text and JUST NOW realized he couldn't use his text and could I just tell him this one thing from the quiz?

We're halfway through the second week of the semester. Are other folks having a crazy time still/already?


  1. I'm definitely not a teacher, but I was a pretty good student and it even used to annoy ME when I'd see the line start forming at the end of class. It's like they don't realize they're in college and that, in college, you're on your own. Somehow, though, it's the teacher's problem to fix ... by the way ... could you possibly tell me the answer to this question? UGH. I'm sorry it's starting out so soon for you.

  2. Ugh, I'm glad to see that my students are not the only ones who see the syllabus as some fun little project I just have for myself. Well, I'm not glad to see that, but you know what I mean.

    Every day I have students asking me if there is homework. It is on the syllabus. What did they miss when they were sick? It is on the syllabus. When is that essay due? Guess what? It's on the frickin' syllabus.

    I feel your pain.

  3. Well, my semester is 1/4 over already, so I've had three and a half weeks of students driving me crazy with not buying the right books, not bringing the books to class, missing half the class meetings, not understanding the assignments I've spent 2 hours of class time explaining and modeling, etc. etc. etc...

  4. Yes, my students keep trying to turn in their homework late, even though the homework is always tied to our class activities so I don't accept it late. They all have special circumstances, etc.

    Half my class keeps arriving 5-10 minutes late, too -- I mean literally, half. I haven't quite figured out why yet but I'm sure they all have special, unique reasons.


  5. I can't really say I'm having a hard time overall, but I struggled today with not getting annoyed at a student who joined a class late and then demanded all kinds of time to catch up. I'm sorry, but I set the deadlines, not the students!