(Closed) Vent: Professor Rant (and also: Tips for College Students)

posted 9 years ago in College
Post # 17
Member
3240 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

@kay01: I hear you! In my time teaching I have come across similar issues with entitlement. I had a student tell me it’s my job and I get paid to teach them-after they showed up late to a lab class. Yes, I do get paid for teaching, but class is scheduled at a specific time. If the student does not show up at that pre-arranged time, it is not my responsibility to make time to teach just that one student.

For the most part having a very clear policy in the syllabus helps. As does making it very clear that make-ups for the final are rare and only happen in cases of extreme emergency (like hospitalization or death). I do require documentation of the emergency because at the school I teach at, I have to fill out a form and provide a copy of the student’s documentation. I think sometimes students do not realize that the professor has to work within the rules of the school and we can’t just snap our fingers to give them a make-up.

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@AB Bride: A student doesn’t have to declare the details of their medical issue. A doctor can provide the documentation the professor needs without violating anyone’s rights. As a student I have also taken finals (and other exams) while very sick. It’s not fun or ideal, but sometimes you just have to do the best you can. Students with legitimate illnesses shouldn’t be scared to approach a professor because they should be able to obtain the documentation needed.

Post # 18
Member
10635 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

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@StarryNight2011:  I agree, it was just this statement in the OP:

You may very well have a valid reason, but you need to share that reason with your professor for her to consider allowing an exception.  

Could scare some students off, especially if they aren’t comfortable sharing the details.  I think we all agree that if someone was sick, or had a major crisis of some sort, providing proof of the sickness/crisis is sufficient without providing details.

Post # 19
Member
1327 posts
Bumble bee

I would never ask for a professor to do something outside of his class time, such as do a make up test or whatever unless I was seriously sick and couldn’t make it. But nothing drove me more crazy in college then professors that would fail you or grade you down for missing class, as far I am concerned I am paying for this class so it is my choice to show up or not, if I fall behind behind because I missed class that is my fault but don’t fail me just because I was absent.

Also not all students understand the rules for university, highschool does a pretty poor job of preparing students for post secondary. The best professor I had was the one who wasn’t very professional at all really, he actually related to his students, treated them all as individuals, while still teaching the appropriate curriculum. Everyone thrived in his classes because they didn’t worry about being proper, instead they were just themselves and just worried about learning the curriculum.

Post # 21
Member
2085 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012 - Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

Psst…there’s a place where professors post the best (worst) emails and excuses they get from students.  The emails are HILARIOUS.  I’m going to share the link, but I warn you that you can spend HOURS reading the gems here.  Be careful!

FYI, they often use “Snowflake” instead of a student name on that forum.

Favorite emails from students: http://bit.ly/u4i6EE

Favorite emails from helicopter parents: http://bit.ly/t5cGaw

 

A favorite from a parent:

“Dear Professor,I am writing about my daughter Jane Doe’s grade on an essay for your class. She received a B and was naturally quite upset. I had her bring it home for me to review over the weekend and agree with her that the grade is far too low…[cut lots of comments that ignore my central issues with organization and with her failure to either answer the question asked or use the appropriate sources]. 

Jane was carefully home schooled and essay writing was a central part of our high school program. I had her write many essays. I urge you to revisit this essay and give it the grade that it actually earned. I’d rather settle it at the teacher level peer-to-peer than to bring it to the president of the college.

sincerely,Mrs. John Doe (writing as her teacher not her mother)”



From a student:

“hi, this is ___and I’m in your ___ class but have been golfing in [sunny vacation destination] for the past couple weeks so i have missed the first few classes. just wondering if there is anything important that i have missed … please let me know what i should do.”

Post # 22
Member
10635 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

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@kay01:  I feel your pain on those types of students! I just interpreted ‘reason’ as more detailed than I sick, here’s a note.

I actually thought a student dropped his lab once because he didn’t show up for the first few weeks (which he had to do to complete and hand in assignments).  When he finally did show up, he actually said to me “my last TA let me ___” I never thought I would have to sound like such drag, but I had to say “well, I’m not your last TA”.

Post # 23
Member
3240 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

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@mink: Oh, that’s fabulous! 🙂

Post # 24
Member
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I slept through half of a final in college once.  When I woke up and realized what time it was, I was frantic, and ran all the way across campus to the final.  Luckily the professor was super nice and let me finish it up in his office right afterwards.  I was so relieved, because I knew full well he had no obligation to let me do that.

 

Post # 25
Member
119 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Who does these things? I have just finished my BA and have never, ever even handed an assignment in late, let alone missed an exam!

I once even went to an exam straight from the vet, where I had just euthanized my dying dog. I cried the whole way through the exam and provided my prof with the reason for my distress, but I wrote the exam anyway because I believe personal and professional/academic lives should remain separate if possible. 

If students don’t care enough to show up for exams, they don’t deserve their degree. Period. 

Post # 26
Member
689 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

This past semester I had a lot of problems with my car. Being a 40 minute drive away and having no one to lend me a hand it got tough at times to get to class. In one class we had a 15 minute presentaion (it really lasted like an hour with the professor’s input) that was basically a third of our grade. My car was spewing oil the night before, there was no way I could get it fixed until the day after this presentation. I exhausted every avenue. I tried renting a car, they were sold out. I looked up a cab company- it would have cost me 160 dollars and I did not have that in my bank account. The buses didn’t come this far south. I don’t think I’ve been that upset since my grandmother passed away. I had worked weeks on this project.

As soon as I figured out I wouldn’t make it to the class I emailed the professor saying I know you can’t give me the points, I just want to let you know I did do the work (some people had not shown up for their presentations for whatever reason with no excuse) and this is why I wont be in. I also attached the powerpoint and handout I had made. She was so understanding. She just switched me to the next class and all I had to do was bring in my bill from the mechanic. It really pays to be proactive and grateful. And boy was I!

Post # 27
Member
1828 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I have always found that if you have a legitimate excuse to need an exception made (moving a quiz, final, paper, etc.), and REQUEST rather than DEMAND your professor help you, things generally go well.

Where I went to undergrad, the make-up restrictions were pretty heavy. It was basically “no, unless you are in the hospital or somebody in your immediate family has died” (no third aunt Sally, twice removed). In most classes, an “oops” was usually built into the grading scheme, such as only 5 out of 6 quizzes would be counted, or you could do some extra credit if you flubbed a paper.

I did have a couple of times where I was *really* sick and had a quiz or exam. Like, puking my guts out every half hour sick. I generally just stayed in bed until I had to leave for the exam, took some medicine, made it through, and then skipped everything else to go back to bed. Didn’t always get the best grades, but I sucked it up.

Post # 28
Member
2583 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I posted earlier about my thoughts, but I’ve noticed a lot of people saying they never missed an exam, just sucked it up… sometimes that’s not possible with certain medical issues. I don’t want to go into details but trust me when I say, there are cases when it’s just impossible to walk the 15 minutes to the exam, take the exam, and walk home.

Post # 29
Member
573 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

This from 

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@Genuine513 is SO TRUE: “But nothing drove me more crazy in college then professors that would fail you or grade you down for missing class, as far I am concerned I am paying for this class so it is my choice to show up or not, if I fall behind behind because I missed class that is my fault but don’t fail me just because I was absent.”

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@mink: I know what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my evening! Haha thank you for sharing 🙂

Post # 30
Member
573 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

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@brandy-lynn: But on the flip side of that, if someone can’t show sympathy for you in that condition, what does they say about them? Academics isn’t everything!

Post # 31
Member
336 posts
Helper bee

Some of this amazes me.  I had one mid-term exam deferred, because my grandfather died the day before it (and then I spent the next morning vomiting frequently, which just made the whole situation suck more because I had to spend 8+ hours on a bus to get home).  I was polite and explained everything with documentation, so all of my profs were really nice.  In fact, the toughest one I had was probably the sweetest guy ever after I came back.

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