Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I just realized something today: if you don't put up with bullshit, bullshit disappears remarkably quickly.  I can't believe it took me this many years of teaching to learn it.
Juggling is easy
when you don't
give a shit!

Hangdog Harry:  "Yo, doc, I won't be able to come to the exam on time because I have an appointment to clean my teeth.  Can you just have it proctored for me by the learning center?"

Prof Chiltepin:  "No.  The exam time has been a matter of public record since before the class started, and you can make a dental appointment for any time you like.  If you are not there, you will receive a zero for the exam, which is worth 30% of your grade."

Hangdog Harry:  "Oh, okay, no problem.  I'll just reschedule the appointment."

Lazy Lucy:  "I didn't know we had a paper due!  Can I have an extension."

Prof Chiltepin:  "No.  The paper is due today at noon, at which point the course ends."

Lazy Lucy:  "Oh.  Okay.  I'll have it done."

It's just amazing how quickly insurmountable problems and incredible inconveniences melt away when you just say that magical little word . . . no.


  1. I think that, "If you don't put up with bullshit, bullshit disappears remarkably quickly," is a corollary to, "Don't care more about your students’ education than they do."

  2. I'm so glad these students were willing to leave the issue as is. Sometimes, they do that.

    Unfortunately, this doesn't always work for me. I don't put up with bullshit, but students don't always get that message and sometimes are too obtuse or too belligerent to let it drop when they realize that I don't negotiate on deadlines or other such policies.

    1. You're lucky if they just continue pestering you. While I was an instructor, if they didn't like if I said no, they just went over my head. I think you can guess what happened after that. After all, I didn't have students, I had *customers* and we all know who's right, don't we?

      Both my last department head and the assistant head thought nothing of undermining my authority. Apparently, by standing firm, I put up a barrier to learning or some such thing.

    2. Yeah, that's usually my experience. The "respectful" ones let it drop and simply complain about it on my evals. The others complain to my chair or even the president. I have been lucky in that my chair actually supports whatever policy is in my syllabus.

    3. Your boss at least supports you.

      My last department head liked to tell me that he always backed his staff, except I wasn't included. He always found some reason to overrule me. Of course, when that happened, word got around and, eventually, I found myself with all the responsibility but next to no authority.

      The students could do whatever they liked because they knew that nothing I did mattered. They could simply go over me and get whatever they wanted and they did.

  3. Once again, Zen Master Ben's Holy Words save us. Damn skippy.

  4. I say "No." every day. When they say "It's not fair." I reply, "You're right, it's not fair that I need to deal with students that can't read simple instructions."