Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Morning Mirth

Upon opening my email before drinking my tea, I received this gem:

"Hell Professor,
I was not able to attend class today because I was not feeling well, I plan on going to the health center to go get a check up either this morning or afternoon depending on when they can see me. I would like to know everything I missed today so that I am able to review and study for the exam this Friday. Also if there were any hw assignments. Please let me know so that I am not behind on my work, Thank you.
~Polite Snowflake"

All the homework is posted online (a week at a time, I might add) to the LMS. What Polite Snowflake probably wanted me to email were the in-class exercises and group work, which are done in class and not posted online. In reality, that question was best sent to a peer in class.

Hell indeed professor. Hell indeed.


  1. A classic error, indeed. I think the impulse to email the professor (politely and reasonably responsibly, in this case, which does indeed merit recognition) rather than a fellow student comes from the desire to make sure that we see how hard they're trying. The thing is, in college it's the product that matters. I have the impression that bosses, too, prefer quiet productivity (certainly those above me in the academic food chain seem to; it seems quite okay with them if my classes run smoothly without their knowing too many of the details except via occasions where we gather for the express purpose of sharing ideas, challenges, etc.)

  2. Perhaps Polite Snowflake is German, and means "Herr Professor"? If so, the correct response is:

    "That's HERR DOKTOR Professor!"

  3. Received yesterday: Good morning Prof.! This is Lying Lizzy, from your Mon/Wed class. I had meant to send this email before, and thought I had, but as it turns out, I hadn't. There are actually two things I wanted to talk about. The first is that I won't be in class today so I will be missing the essay test. I have to go to my ob/gyn this morning for a biopsy. I tried to schedule around my class schedule, but the lady who deals with these things is going on maternity leave. The second thing is that I missed the last test, last Monday I believe. My pet sitter wasn't able to watch my two guppies and I didn't have anyone else to watch them. I can bring proof of my appointment today if you need it and if there is anything else,
    please let me know.

  4. I seriously read this and thought, "huh, I wish I got emails like this." I get things like: "Here's my paper. I didn't know how to submit it to the online dropbox." Um. The one you submitted three other papers to? The one that the syllabus clearly states is the only way I accept papers? So, because you're too lazy, I have to suddenly become your secretary and sort stuff for you?

    Or, my favorite, "I'm in your class next semester. What are the books?" As if I have only one class, and as if it's my job to give them the book list that is posted on the goddamned course websites already.

    And, of course, "I'm sorry I wasn't in class, but my family is more important than your class to me." Which was an actual email I actually got recently. That was all it said. Just that.

    1. That last one is awesome. I had a snowflake tell me he had to go home for a week to spend time with his family and that's why he missed a test. I asked him if somebody was dead or dying and he said, "No, I just wanted to spend a week with my family."

    2. OMG Naughty Proff! You must teach at my school. One of my students did the exact same thing with me!

    3. I thought the same (about politeness), having just received an email saying, "I tried to submit my homework to [blackholeboard] but my phone battery is low so here it is" (no attachment).

      I'd be annoyed by the presumption that I'm there to fill them in when they choose to miss a class, but I'd just be happy for a polite email.

    4. I love when they say something is more important than the class. I love it. I tell them, yes, they have to prioritize, and I understand completely that some things in life are more important than passing a class.....

    5. Bella,

      In college I once took an in-class, anonymous, end-of-course survey on the second to last day of class. There was a question asking about why we didn't do all the work required, if that was the case. I wrote, "Other priorities." I thought that was reasonable and a lot more honest than "I didn't have time," which is what I wager most people wrote. Not having time simply means that we set other priorities. Everyone has the same amount of time, unless we are physically constrained.

      On the last day of class, the prof commented on the survey and got very angry about my response. He lectured us about how college classes must be our top priority while we are in college. I didn't stand up to defend my formulation of the issue, but another student did.

    6. I was especially amused by the assumption that I'd pick a fight about it. It just seemed so unnecessarily defensive, especially since I couldn't care less if he is or isn't in class, particularly.

  5. Polite or not, these emails drive me CRAZY. It clearly states in the syllabus that I will not answer the question "what did I miss today???" Polite or not, the issue is still the same- either they didn't read the syllabus or they don't think that rule applies to them.

  6. I don't require attendance (I don't have to, and their grades create themselves, shrug), so I have students who miss occasionally, or frequently. . . twice, or four times, or eleven times, for I don't know what reason, nor care. Greek rush week hangover. Borderlands II release. Mom's in town. Alarm clock, whatever. Not a word. Not a peep. Any given day there are probably 35/40 students in class-- where those five are, I know/care not.

    Then, THEN, when one of them is *actually* ill and goes by the health center, THEN they MUST inform me, to make sure I noticed that they were 'legitimately' absent. Like I care? But just that one time when there was a good reason. I'm not sure why this irks me so. Clogs up my in-box.

  7. I am a former ta. I taught lab sections, with assignments due at the end of each session. The lab reports were worth 10% of the final grade. This was clearly stated everywhere. One trio of smart ass freshmen asked to "be excused". Sure, I said, you can go. This is university. You don't even need to show up, I don't mind. They went to the bar for 1 1/2 hours, came back close to the end of the 2 hour class. Missed the assignment completely. And then said to me, but you said we could go! Sure. I don't care if you miss the assignment. I'm not your parent, and I don't pay your tuition. But if you want to pass, I suggest that you show up.


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