To Sad Sally,
Despite what urban legends claim, I am not out to ruin your life and pulverize your dreams under my weather-beaten loafers. I had a myriad reasons to choose the career I did, some of which have crumbled to dust right before my eyes, but believe me when I say that victimizing "impressionable young minds" [but you claim you were hoping I'd treat you "like the adult" you were. Which is it?] was not one of them.
Look, crap happens. I get that. Your close relative died and you had to go to hir funeral; that wasn't a crime. I was morally and legally obliged to give you time to make up your work, to take the situation into consideration when I sat down to determine your final grade. You were passing this course before the aforementioned crap happened and the abrupt descent of your performance could not have been fibbed. I believe you, Sad Sally, I really do.
You say I didn't cooperate with you on this matter. Oh, Sally, but I did. Remember that email I sent you, asking you to come to my office hours with some missing homework that I would grade and enter into the system? Remember when I sat there for three hours, looking from window to door, waiting? Oh, wait - you probably don't remember, because you didn't show up. I read the plaintive missive you sent two days later, entreating for another chance, a different time tailored according to your schedule. I capitulated to that too, Sally; I let you name the time and day and smiled rather amiably when I received your gushing gratitude. Sure, it was the day after grades were due and the semester was officially over, so I wasn't getting any benefit for coming in, but I didn't mind because under all the cynicism and thick skin, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.
You. Didn't. Show. Up.
You thought third time was the charm and asked me again, but I, lowly old I, dared refuse your offer. And now I get this email, lashing out at me with every vile accusation under the sun. You insult my reason for my career choice, you question the solidity of my heart, you speculate on the repercussions this could heap on my position as instructor, was it too much to ask me to meet you [YOU!] halfway, who exactly did I think I was? - the list goes on and on.
I am not mad at you, Sally, I am fucking furious. Ignoring for a moment my own wasted time, I want to beat you over the head for forfeiting a semester's worth of time and worthwhile effort, to shake you into understanding that this is important, that your education MATTERS, goddammit! All you had to do was show me some past homework - no extra paper, no extra credit, no test, no handstand, just past homework that you should have done anyway. What more do you want?! How low can standards go?!
My fingers are shaking as I type this - out of frustration, anger, resentment, I don't know. It is like Dick Tingle so eloquently observed; there is something missing in these students, something essential, vital, and I am absolutely terrified of the implications.