Monday, September 28, 2009

Week 6

So: I have emailed Journal Editor with a variation on Notorious' message. I am not as blithe as she suggests, but am working up the confidence angle. I'll let you know what happens; it's making me nervous.

In other news, it's Week 6. What is it about Week 6? Either I get cranky or a small but visible portion of my students gets obnoxious. Example 1: In my 10 am class, one student was pretty clearly doing the homework in class, and then handed it right in to me at the end (it was comp; we discuss the homework before the handing-in. I will change this policy as much as I can immediately. Much as I hate walking around and checking off the homework for completion--hello, eighth grade!--I hate being taken for a sucker even more). Example 2: In my 1:00 class, one student told me that another was in the hospital. At 1:50, on my way back to the office, I spotted said student sitting on the floor OUTSIDE MY CLASSROOM waiting for another class to start. I sort of double-taked and vowed to deal with it later, in a stern email. (As I said to TM, "I might be all nice in the classroom, but I am one cold bitch over email!")

So I guess that's only two incidents. There's the sleepiness, of course, and the sauce of a student who casually dropped off his homework in my mailbox a few hours after class ended (Example 3). I shall be discussing this practice with him.

What annoys me is that I try so hard not to police every little stupid thing in my classes. As Dr. Crazy recently argued, such practices can turn into a massive time-suck. (Those were not her exact words, of course, but this is what I recall of her general point, probably mistakenly. I'm tired.) So I got rid of "excused" and "unexcused" absences, and now say that you get three, and after three, no matter what, your grade starts to go down (barring extraordinary circumstances). When you've missed 20% of the class sessions, you fail. So I don't care if Example 2 was skipping class or actually sick; the penalty is the same. But when ze lies to me (and has another student lie to me, too), well, that's kind of disrespectful and insulting, and I feel like I shouldn't let it go. But I don't want to deal with it.

If I only have three Examples (one of whom--Ex. 3--is generally a pretty charming student, otherwise) out of my 60-odd students, I guess I shouldn't complain. But maybe Week 6 is just the point in the semester when these otherwise really little things start to get...just...super annoying.

(On the bright side: My seminar is going pretty well, though only 2/6 are really on board with the blog. Kittenfoot (also known as the Mayor of Kittentown--yes, I am awesome with the cutesy names!) is doing well: she still pees outside the box, for some reason, but otherwise is doing well, eating lots, and racing around the room, and she went to the vet last week. She can't come out of the attic bedroom until she's had her leukemia test on the 13th, though, which means that we have to spend a lot of time in the room with her. That's kind of tiresome and makes me feel guilty for neglecting the other cats! Our Chaplain might consider taking her in, which would be okay with us--as fond as we are of the little stripey-face.)


Sisyphus said...

You can't just give her awayyyyyy!

Not without posting some more pictures for us. Kittens!

Dr. Crazy said...

Week 6 stinks. Totally.

As for the lying... does your school have an honor code? Does it cover things like lying? If so, you can always reference it in your attendance policy.... My strategy, though, is to make attendance only affect the participation part of their grade, which makes them less likely to lie, which does a lot to keep my rage in check.

heu mihi said...

We do not have an honor code, which is a whole other point of frustration. In fact, I rewrote our Academic Dishonesty statement from scratch last year because it was so lame. But in this case, anyway, the student wrote back with a pretty convincing explanation, and has promised a doctor's note, so I'm just going to let it go.