Monday, October 4, 2010

We want them to contact us, really?

There have been many examples of how entitled modern students believe they are.

The tenured folk (I'm presuming) have offices with dedicated phone lines.
If you aren't in your office, your voice mail picks it up and you respond (if you want!) the next day.

For the lowly adjunct, however, we might get a shared office space with ONE phone line that obviously is only of any use if the adjunct is actually sitting in the office when the phone rings.

I thought I had a clever workaround by securing a Google Voice number. That way I can give my students a "personal" number which isn't actually my phone number. (It's basically a call-forwarding service.) Of course, no one knows this. It just appears to be a phone number, which students are POINTEDLY told is only for true emergencies. We have EMail and an online Q&A forum for standard questions.

Problem with Google Voice -- when the calls ring through, the ID doesn't call up "Snowflake" or even a name.

I got a call at 9:30 PM last night which only was identified as [name of state].
As I have relatives residing in [state], I answered the call.

"Uh, Professor A&S, this is [didn't read the syllabus/announcements/online course materials]. When are the chapter quizzes available?"

I literally was momentarily speechless.
"Hasn't that been communicated repeatedly and in several forms?" I finally mustered.

"Uh, no," responded [didn't read] lacking even a scintilla of recognition of the irony.

Is it just me?
Would anyone here call ANYone other than a good friend/family member at 9:30 at night?


  1. Best student phone call ever: "Uh, Ms. Black? Uh, you know you said that if I missed another class, I'd fail?"

    Me, at 830am: "Yes, wait, how did you get this...what?"

    Student: "Well, I just wanted you to know that, uh, I'm over in the jail right now? And I might have to miss class. Is that okay?"

    I tell them that they can call my dept. secretary to get my phone number if it is an absolute dire emergency...the example I typically give is a zombie apocalypse. I think that's how he got my number.

    I would not call anyone at 930 at night unless it was Atom Smasher or someone was dying.

    I also tell my students that I observe an email Sabbath from roughly noon on Friday until noon on Sunday, and that I do not use email from 730pm until 8am. This has been strangely effective at reducing the oddly-timed emergency emails...mostly because I remind them of this policy before major in "You better ask me your questions by 730, or they won't get answered before the Big Scary Exam."

    I actually wonder if they are more respectful of this because it sounds religious. It's not (I'm more of a Luddite atheist than anything else). But boy, it works.

  2. Due to budget cuts, we don't have landlines at my R1 anymore. The beauty of this is that I am under no obligation to give out my private cell phone number to students, ever. Yay!

  3. There's a phone in my shared office. I gave it out but told them NOT to call it because I had no idea how to change it to mine and I had no desire to. My officemates told their students the same thing. The message light has been blinking for over a month now. We aren't in any hurry to figure out what said idiot wanted.

  4. I do have an office number, but I warn them that outside of my office hours I'm usually in the library, and that since there is no "message" light on my phone, I tend not to remember to check for messages with any regularity. So the phone number is useful for leaving a message if they're, say, phoning from the hospital and haven't got internet access; any less urgent messages they can send by email.

    I don't give out my cell number or my home number under any circumstances, because of the high chance that someone will pull exactly what you just mentioned.

    I would strongly suggest that adjuncts say just what you did - that you don't have a dedicated phone line, so if they want to be sure of reaching you outside of your office hours (when you will be sitting by the phone of course), use email. Don't give them your Google Voice number or anything else. They don't need it.

  5. Google Voice has some great features you're not using, but should be. You can set it to screen your calls so that everyone calling has to state their name BEFORE your phone rings. And then when your phone rings, you're told who's calling. If you decline to take the call, they never know--they just are told you're not available and get your voicemail.

    You can even set it so that then, as the voicemail is being left, you can listen in.

    Oh, and there's also the option of not having it ring your phone at all, but instead send you an auto-transcribed email.

    Google Voice is a powerful line of defense against snowflakery. Use it wisely, Grasshopper.

  6. If it makes you feel any better - or puts the 9:30 phone call in perspective - I've received calls at 11:30 from juvenile clients (I'm a criminal defense lawyer who hangs out on education blogs). I never know whether they're calling at that hour because they'd rather leave a message than talk to me, or because they think that if they call their friends at that hour, why shouldn't they call their lawyer, too?

  7. Dr S ...

    Thanks for the reminder.
    I actually got my Google Voice number (back when it was still GrandCentral) because I had a full-time job in my field which, for security reasons, didn't allow me to bring my personal cell into the facility. It was a godsend for forwarding cell to office, office to cell, etc.

    I shut off the "announce yourself" feature because 1) professional colleagues/clients found it annoying; 2) it didn't always work, so I got blank announcements.

    But I'll check it out again.
    After Google took over for GC, the service was left to wither for some time.
    Wondering if Google ever got around to updating/upgrading it!

    But I am curious about Merely Academic's assertion that they don't need it.
    All college materials seem to require that we include a phone number.
    You have me wondering what would happen if I just didn't provide one!

  8. I like giving out my cell number. It's off almost all the time, and when I turn it on I can check messages and turn it right off again. I tell students that I check email multiple times a day, but the phone once a day at most.

    Email doesn't feel intrusive to me, and I answer email 7 days a week, about 18 hours a day.

  9. As an adjunct, I give the department phone number and tell them they can leave a message with the secretary and I'll get it when I'm next on week. I don't know the phone number in my borrowed office and I'm taking the "ignorance is bliss" route. I answer email same-day if it's a reasonable hour and request, so I feel no guilt about being less accessible by phone.


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