Friday, February 25

Maybe I'm old and grumpy...

I got an e-mail this week that I still haven’t responded to as my initial reaction is to send off something nasty. As background, I gave a test in a relatively large class. This week I went over the test, question by question, during regularly scheduled class time. If I were to do this individually for each person in the class, it would take up three weeks of working solely on this from 8am to 5pm, five days a week.

Here is the e-mail:
“Dear Prof. (DJ),
My name is (some name), I am currently taking (some class). I was unable to attend the review session today as I had to complete a group project for my (some other class). I was wondering if it would be possible if we could arrange a time to meet so that I could see my exam. I was very upset when I recieved my grade because I put many hours into studying for the exam. I never missed a class and I found your lectures to be very interesting. I was hoping you could possibly tell me where I went wrong as far as preparing for the exam. I am very worried about my final grade in the course. If you could get back to me and let me know a time that is convient for you that would be great.”

Why does this chap my lips? First of all, “many hours”? If you expect to do well on “hours” vs. “days”, we’ve got a problem. But the kicker is that this person made a decision to not come to class the day we covered the exam. (S)he was not sick. Their mother didn’t die. No, this person missed class because (s)he decided to do work (s)he had should be doing outside of class. I do not have a problem with an adult making a decision to trade one obligation for another. All of us have to do it from time-to-time, but we pay the consequence. My problem is someone asking me to spend another hour of my time because (s)he was busy during scheduled class time. Growl.

Please keep track of the fact I’m bitching about a very small subset of students. Most are wonderful. I just submitted a scholarship application for a varsity athlete who has maintained a 3.89 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) taking real classes. This guy is a captain of his team. This is the kind of person who if he misses class he apologizes! So he misses class for a regularly scheduled game and says he’s sorry, while the person above misses class because (s)he is behind the 8-ball in another class, and asks me to repeat the class!