Sunday, June 27, 2010

Traveling Students.

I'm so sick of the travel needs of my students this summer. I have three who are working people. Yes, good for them. IN THIS ECONOMY!

Anyway, it seems that every class they come to me with new details about their work travel. "I can't be here next week at all. Going to be in Detroit." "My boss asked me to stay an extra day in New York."

And the assumption is that I'll do everything to keep them up to date, funneling information to them on the road, taking in work late, etc.

I get that they're busy people, with families and jobs, but even my stupid little class needs to be a priority at times, doesn't it?


  1. Just so long as they understand that poor planning on their part doesn't constitute an emergency on your part.

  2. I just have a rule on my syllabus that students must get lecture notes, handouts, announcements, etc., from another student, not me. I'm not responsible for missed classes, in other words. I teach once, and that's that.

  3. I had my share of students who expected me to do things like schedule exams around their class ski trips, but without telling about them ahead of time. Often I would be portrayed as the bad guy if I didn't comply.

    I had no problem if they were on, say, a class tour of something related to what they were studying or a colleague had made such arrangements, provided I was told well in advance. I wasn't so accommodating when I had to disrupt my schedule for their recreational activities.

  4. If they're missing class, the "keeping up" bit is their problem. My stuff is online, which serves my purposes - keeping a page keeps me archived, organized and documented; and the students - they can get what they need, mostly, online.

    The problem comes when they want excessive accommodations in terms of deadlines and assignments.

  5. My feeling, also: it's not my job but theirs to keep them up to date on what they missed. I just finished teaching a summer class. I had students working full time and missing classes; I had sick students; I had students taking two intensive summer classes AND working full-time. I went through all this on the first day and said "you are going to find an intensive summer class challenging to keep up with even if you are not working; even if you are not taking 2 classes at the same time; let alone if you're doing both. If you don't keep up with the readings - which will be posted online - or you don't come to class, you will very easily fall behind and and you will find it hard to catch up. I will not be posting notes online. Think through what you can actually do and plan your time carefully."

    And that was it. I warned them, which was only fair; after that, if they can't do it, it's their responsibility. They're adults. I don't send anyone my notes, I don't "keep them up to date" by email - they can check the Moodle site - if they're missing stuff they can consult a classmate to get the notes.

    As for cutting people slack on assignments, no. I mean, sure, if you're sick (and bring me a note). But what I do with late assignments is deduct 2% per day for every day it's late. They can make the calculation for themselves on whether it's worthwhile to hand it in on time, but perhaps not perfect, or hang onto it for a day or two and take the 2% or 4% (or whatever) cut.

    During term time I take off 1% per day, but summer classes are condensed. :)

  6. If they actually ARE traveling for business, they are likely to have internet at the hotel. I see no reason for them to get an extension -- if their job is something that takes them out and beyond the reach of the internet, they should reconsider school and work as compatible.

  7. It took a couple years of teaching before I started to really embrace the notion that whatever the concern, it's not my problem, except for actual content related questions, but they tend to ask those in class anyway. I really can't be bothered to accommodate anything other than a medically documented somethingerother.

  8. I see this BS more with my MBA students. I give them the assignments at the start of class and tell them that if they are not in class, then they have to meet deadlines. That is, missed class for whatever reason including missed work does not constitute an excuse to miss a deadline.


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