Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stupid student tricks

I've seen several, this semester. 

I have a fairly strict attendance policy, one that's mandated by the university.  Not as strict as some others--I am human, after all--but if a student misses three weeks of a sixteen week class (nine class periods for MWF classes, and six for TTh), they fail.  No recourse.  Just out.  If they're lucky, it's before the drop date. 

I have one student who is butting up against that limit.  It's only halfway through week 7 of the semester.  He's not answering emails, and I've not seen him in about a week and a half.  And if he's not watching his email, he's not going to catch that I've asked him to drop before he fails. 

Thing is, financial aid treats drops and fails the exact same way: they're penalized.  However, a W on a transcript will not hurt the final GPA like a failed class will. 

I'm hoping that my class--a basic, core, everybody-has-to-take-it class that has nothing to do with his major--is the first time he's done this, but I'm not holding out a whole lot of hope. 

I also have a fairly strict policy about turning papers in on time.  Yeah, if someone asks for an extension, I'll grant it--this semester, I have had a girl lose her grandpa after a protracted illness that landed him in the ICU as he faded the first two weeks of semester; another who was fighting to avoid homelessness for herself and her two autistic children; a third who simply wasn't comprehending that writing a paper is as simple as following a formula until it suddenly clicked the day before due date; a young man whose wife was hospitalized and finally diagnosed, and who is still trying to find the right combo and dosage of meds to control a chronic condition. 

The extension has to be requested before the deadline.  It cannot be requested on or after a due date. 

I had three students not turn in papers, week before last.  I granted three extensions (and have gotten two of the three papers turned in--the other one was a longer extension).  One of those turned her paper in two days late with no explanation other than that she procrastinated. 

If it had been turned in on the day it was due--I accept them until midnight, when turned in electronically--the paper would have gotten a 95%.  As it was, it got a 0.  Her grade has plummeted to barely passing.  Just on not turning in one paper.  If she does it again...yeah, she's gonna have to drop.  Or take the F.

Deadlines are there for a reason, and there is no negotiating failing to meet one in my class.  I do not negotiate, do not make exceptions, because these kids have been failed by each and every teacher who has made exceptions...because they've trained the students to expect them.  And that's a failure, because there is not an employer on earth who will accept this kind of performance.  

Last semester, I had an excellent student.  She came to class every day, and spent the semester trying to bring a newly-emerged chronic health condition under control (after having spent the previous semester trying to get it diagnosed).  Toward the end of semester, she had issues with getting her last two papers turned in.  It took her A down to an F--or, at least, it would have, had I not granted her an incomplete.  She has another nine weeks to turn in those last two papers before her incomplete turns into an F automatically.  I've seen her a couple of times, and she's sworn she's going to bring me those papers...and I haven't seen them.  Or her.  Not for more than a month. 

She is also going to be reaping the consequences.  I have high hopes that that student, at least, will actually learn from her mistakes. 


  1. Oh... You're just an old meanie... I mean actually EXPECTING these snowflakes to actually work, and turn stuff in on time??? /snark off... The really sad part is that mentality is starting to 'infiltrate' the workplace. We just had two get fired for not completing assigned work and I'm hearing one is going to sue under EEOC... sigh

  2. See? And this is what I want to keep from happening when my students hit the professional world. It's bad for them, bad for businesses, and reflects badly on every school they've ever gone to.