Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A New Excuse!

Actual email I recieved this week, 1-1/2 hours before the test.

Subject: not their today

Hello dr. [wanderer] this is [student snowflake] in your 12 o'clock class on MWF,, I am not going to be their today got some folks to go help and try to load and pack up because of the wildfires, sorry to give you such short notice, but i have to hit the road today. next class time i will remind you about making up the test. sorry for the mix ups.

thank you for your time.


  1. He'll "remind" you about making up the test? Good of him.

  2. Is this student's house about to catch fire? Well, that's an excuse. But my guess is there's a road trip with beer involved.

  3. At least he thanked you for your time!

  4. Sorry for the mix-ups? What mix-ups? You held an exam, he went elsewhere, that seems to be that.

    Now, Wanderer, let ME apologize for the shit-storm that will result when you have to railroad this dumbass.

  5. Dear snowy,
    Thank you for your concern that I may forget that you missed the exam and that you will remind me about making it up. It will remind me to remind you that there are no makeups.

  6. "next class time i will remind you about making up the test."

    What he really means is that he is going to stand at the front of the classroom and make a scene.

  7. Jeezus, I've been doing this for 37 years, and I've got snowflake students just like this one, and I've received lots of similarly idiotic email messages, but you all--especially Strelnikov--are 'way, 'way more disturbing than adolescent students.

    Lighten the fuck up.

  8. I got a wild fire email excuse yesterday too, small world!

  9. Philip, go take a rhetoric class, and please for to study irony, satire, and hyperbole.

  10. Strelnikov's comment has been deleted, but it was about blowing the student's head off with a pistol while hoping that a "cute Asian chick" in the class wouldn't be wounded by a ricochet. If that's "irony, satire, and hyperbole," then you're right, I don't get it.

    BTW, today's LA Times ("Wildfires rage on in Texas") quotes a spokesperson from the Texas Forest Service: "We're seeing [fires] from border to border. They're spanning the entire state right now." So there's at least a possibility that the student's email message isn't just another lame excuse.

    I realize that this site is a place for us to vent and blow off steam, but at least our self-centered, adolescent students have a chance to grow up. Aside from having learned the difference between "there" and "their," it looks like some professors are as egocentric as their students.

    The whole world isn't about us and our MWF 12 o'clock classes, either.

  11. I did wonder if the actual teaching institution was also in danger...I mean...is it "well, there hasn't been an official evacuation order but I AM GOING TO BE CAUTIOUS WITH MY BEERZ while you poor sods take the test" or is it "hey, there's an official evacuation order and I'm going to follow it."

    Also--I would be far, far more receptive to an "I have to miss this exam b/c of a wildfire concern" if it was spelled and punctuated correctly, and if it offered some sign of respect for the instructor.

  12. BlackDog is right: It's ALL about manners. Colleges are middle-class institutions with middle-class rules of behavior (like not talking too loudly). Lots of students need to learn--or be taught--the rules.

    What's mind-boggling to most of us is students who should know better, like spoiled snowflakes in R1 institutions, who act out of their sense of entitlement and privilege.

    Some college professors do exactly the same thing. And, sure, there's a fine line between being firm and fair and being an inflexible fuckhead. That's part of the job, too.

  13. @ Philip
    Good, I'm glad I disturbed you....did you actually read the note? Did you catch the douchebaggery inherent in "next class time i will remind you about making up the test"? Wayward Wanderer might not even allow test makeups, and yet Scumbag Q. Snowflake THINKS he can BS his way into one.

    Whatever nastiness I come up with for undergrad stupidity remains imaginary; their stunts, however, remain real. Who is worse?

    There is a man called Nando who runs a blog called "Third Tier Reality"*, which is about the outrageous costs and limited prospects of law school. Nando does not play nice; every post has a photo of excrement, or a overflowing toilet, or Bob Morse (editor for the "US News and World Report" law school rankings.) In each post he either lays out the gory facts about a selected law school (how much it costs to go, where the school is on the rankings, reported earnings by graduates, etc.) or he is hammering those people who kowtow to the American Bar Association, or BS for the law schools on the internet. Thanks to this take-no-prisoners attitude, he and some other "scam bloggers" are beginning to change people's minds about getting a JD. My point is that playing nice does not seem to be working when it concerns the vast clusterfuck that is academia - screaming like an insane street preacher does.



    * The title references the law school phrase "third tier toilet", which is what the Harvard Law people call the unfortunates who go to Cooley, Touro, Drake, and especially that hacienda of fraud they call Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Nando went to Drake and has been paying for it ever since.

  14. So help me understand, Strelnikov, and I'm not being snarky.

    You're trying "to change people's minds" about becoming part of "vast clusterfuck that is academia"? Nando is your role model? And "screaming like an insane street preacher" is the most effective way to do this?

    Have I missed something?

  15. @ Philip
    I believe that 60-70 percent of incoming students are just not "there" academically and more importantly, do not understand the expense involved in American higher ed. Which is why about 50+ percent drop out and are then stuck with crippling debt for the rest of their lives because student loans are non-dischargable. The other 20-30 percent are douchebags or semi-dickcheeeses like WW's emailer....the tiny minority of students know what they are doing and why.

    My point in bringing up Nando was that he lays it out as he sees it and doesn't pussyfoot around. His goal is to keep people away from law school (except for the top 14 schools, and even then the chance to get a decent job in law is hard), my goal would be to see that the professorate regain whatever guts it has and withstand the steady cheapening of the profession. It should be said however that right now the student loan debt amount has reached 900 billion dollars so we may see another bomb go off on Wall Street and the rapid collapse of most private colleges and incredible damage done to the public universities.

  16. Strelnikov—

    First off, I wouldn’t bet the mortgage that 50 percent of college students drop out. Recently, IHE or The Chronicle or someone reported that 2/3 of CA community college (where I work) students do not transfer. It would be easy to conclude that we’re wasting billions of taxpayer dollars until you look for the definition of a successful transfer student: Someone who completed cc coursework, transferred to a four-year school, and graduated—all within six years.

    That’s an unrealistic measure of success. My own wife needed four years to get through the local cc because she had to work. For the same reason, it took her another four years to graduate from the local State U, where she got straight “A”s and was Phi Beta Kappa and the Outstanding Graduate the year she finished up. Today, she’s a full-time, tenure-track teacher the cc where she started off. That’s not an example of failure.

    While I’m on this tangent, I’ll also point out that 80-90 percent of the first responders in CA—cops, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics—come from community colleges, and the same thing is true for nurses. It’s not very likely that these folks got it all done in just six years, and they’re sure not failures, either.

    Back to Nando and your response to the student email message: If your goal is “to see that the professorate regain whatever guts it has and withstand the steady cheapening of the profession,” I really can’t see how your over-the-top response, even on a blog like this one, is going to get us there. I really can’t. Sure, you were trying to be humorous, but blowing people’s heads of just ain’t funny. Period. And remarks about “cute Asian chicks” don’t “cheapen the profession”?

    I’m not so sure that Wayward Wanderer’s student emailer is a “douchebag” or a “semi-dickcheese,” either. I’d bet that he and WW are both in Texas: The email mentioned “the wildfires” without any explanation, and WW knew what he was referring to. This would make zero sense if they were in a place with no wildfires. WW was pissed because he received the email only 1 ½ hours before the test, but, Jeezus, wildfires are . . . well, wildfires. They spread quickly, don’t they?

    Of course, the student wasn’t particularly polite or deferential to his professor (and that’s the real problem, IMHO). So maybe we should spend half an hour telling students what our email standards/expectations are. The email message that set WW off might be a good example of what NOT to do. But the student who wrote it doesn’t even have control over “there” and “their.” Even though he said that “I will remind you about making up the test,” isn’t it just a tad more charitable or even humane to think that he meant something like “I will remember to ask you about making up the test”? “Remind” and “remain” ARE semantically related.

    Finally, let’s remind one another to remember that when someone, whether it’s an idiotic administrator or a snowflake student, gets your goat, they’re winning.


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