Friday, August 23, 2013

Last Set of Tweets on Cancelled Classes.

This week I've been retweeting a SMALL number of "class cancelled," "professor didn't show" tweets. I continue to be astonished at the numbers. It's hundreds. Seriously.

I know there are a lot of proffies and a lot of colleges, and I suppose these students could be wandering around in wrong buildings and so on, but I think the sheer number of these no shows is awfully embarrassing.

All this week there was never a time that I didn't find at least 50 of these tweets from students.

What the fuck, people? Who's cancelling class the first week? What is with these folks who are cancelling ALL FRIDAY classes? Does an administrator or chair know you're running MWF classes only on MW? Who are these faculty who have not yet returned from: Alaska, Costa Rica, Canada, England, Italy, Dominican Republic, Portugal, NYC, Vermont, "vacation," etc.? Did they not know when the semester started?

I know there are a hundred kinds of emergencies that might stop a faculty member from missing a class at some point during the semester, but I have never missed a first week class in my career. I talked to 4 of my colleagues and none of them had ever missed or cancelled a first week class.

What in the world is going on?

Terry P
CM's Tweetie-Domo

The last installment of cancelled classes appear below the jump....



  1. I'd love to follow up on some of these. I follow the tweets and am like Terry flabbergasted by the numbers.

    Are there any CM readers who have done this? What is up with the cancelling ALL Fridays? I've searched some of the same things Terry does and have found dozens he hasn't retweeted.

    What is going on? It would piss me off if any of my colleagues were doing it, and I guess I want to know why.

    1. We had a prof do it over the summer and we are not rehiring her.

      I don't get it either.

  2. We would frequently cancel the first discussion section if it met before the first lecture, since my school seems incapable of starting classes on a Monday.

  3. They were kidnapped by aliens, their bodies snatched by snowflakes from outer space.

  4. I'm still boggling at this, too. I've never done it, and wouldn't do it unless I were very seriously ill, or stuck half a continent away, or something along those lines, and even then I'd arrange a substitute, or at least email well in advance and give them some (required, verifiable, genuinely useful) stuff to do on the LMS. I can't imagine any of my colleagues (okay, the great majority of my colleagues) doing it either. Even thinking back to the some of the "don't do this" messages we periodically get from the provost, the dean, etc., I don't have the impression that canceling first-week classes is a common phenomenon at my school (it seems to be more popular to try to end the semester early by moving the exam back to the last week of classes, and then express surprise when students and other professors don't appreciate your commandeering a 3-hour block that overlaps with other classes). I'm sure some of the students are confused by one or more factors others have mentioned, and I'm sure the effect is magnified by the twitterverse, but something still seems odd.

    So instead of a plausible, possibly-verifiable explanation, I'll present my wishful-thinking one: all of these classes were scheduled to be taught by the ubiquitous Professor Staff, but, thanks to cuts in adjunct workloads to avoid extending coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and/or the improving economy, and/or a sudden realization among longterm adjuncts that this is no way to make a living, the universities in question have, in fact, been unable to hire someone to play the role of Professor Staff. The adjunct revolution has begun, and universities will soon be forced to create full-time jobs (with those benefits they so desired to avoid paying) if they want those cash-positive intro classes taught. [There are, mind you, plenty of reasons to think that this is not the explanation, starting with the fact that I'm pretty sure that most responsible chairs would either cancel and unstaffable section or recruit a full-timer to teach it as an overload if there were no other alternative, but I still like the idea.]

    1. This is downright inspiring. Allons, enfants de l'academie . . .

  5. There is also the possibility that the little flakes are making it all up, to undermine the credibility of the proffie class. Psychological class warfare.

  6. I had a kidney stone on the first day of class last fall. The pain started about an hour before my first class was supposed to start, and thirty minutes later I had to call the department's secretary and ask him to cancel my classes because I had to go outside and wait for the ambulance (I didn't know what the excruciating pain was, so off to the ER I went).

    These things do occasionally happen, but 95% of the time it's just someone being stupid.

  7. I had a prof not show up on the first day of class, soooo many years ago back in undergrad. His excuse? At our second meeting, he explained that he had taught this class at 10am for years. That particular year, it had been scheduled at 9am and he simply had no idea.

  8. I was there the first day this week...on crutches because I had knee surgery on Tuesday. Insane, perhaps, but I refuse to miss any of the first week if I can help it!!