I almost didn't believe this so went to Twitter and did some searches. There are HUNDREDS of tweets like this. Unless I had my guts exploding I'd never cancel class the first week. It's such an important time to set the tone for the semester. Am I really that old fashioned?I wonder if it's young faculty or old faculty.
I'm young. It sure as hell ain't me. I swear, the profflakes are worse than the students. Students at least have the excuse of ignorance.
I hope these proffies are not the same ones who bitch when students don't show. Bad form, people.
What the fuck is wrong with these people? I have never cancelled class. I'm no iron man - I get sick occasionally or travel for research. When that happens, I get a colleague to substitute for me (and I do the same for them). My university is run like a business, which is mostly a pain in the ass but THIS would never happen here.
I'm with Ben on this. For all of my yammering, I still meet my fucking classes, especially the first one!I want them to see what they've got in store. I want them scared shitless.Cancelling class puts the professor in a defensive posture from then on.Crazzy.
As of right now, I'm not entirely sure I'll have much of a voice next week (chances are good it will return by then, but also that it won't stand up well to suddenly talking a lot, after getting relatively little use this summer), but, even if I don't, I will certainly hold class. Even if I can't talk (drone) my way through the syllabus, they can introduce themselves, and I can do the same, and give them the syllabi, and make it clear what they need to do for the next class, and answer any questions. If I were too sick to do that, I *might* send an email canceling class, but it would also attach the syllabus,and a bunch of assignments to complete by the next class. Given the usual groaning about my detailed instructions, I don't think anybody would be celebrating that on twitter (well, unless they only read the subject line, which might well be the explanation for at least some of these tweets. I wonder how many of these students have substantial homework to complete for the next class that they haven't yet discovered/focused on?). So, yes, I'm shocked, and not at all pleased at the image of proffies this creates/perpetuates. My own, mostly projection-based, explanation is that thanks to the economy, lack of raises (and in some cases wage cuts) over the last few years, etc., etc., these proffies were teaching (or doing other additional-income work) all summer, and are just plain exhausted and not at all in the mood to start the new semester. That certainly describes me. I just don't wanna. But, come next week, I will, and, even if I'm still not feeling particularly invested in the whole enterprise, will do a darn good job of faking it. If past experience is any guide, the most likely result of that is students who are simultaneously convinced that I'm "nice" and scared shitless at the nature and volume of work they'll need to complete. I'll take it.
If you use a Mac, there's an interesting dodad under System preferences / Speech. There you can choose a voice and set up a key combination and then you mark text on your computer and the voice reads it. I like Samantha and Vicki. I often have laryngitis problems and once actually taught all week with this. It helps if you prepare the texts in advance, but it is amazingly useful.
No macs in our classrooms (or in my backpack), sadly, but still a useful tip. Thanks! I will have a computer and projector, so I can always type things out in a REALLY BIG FONT if need be. Most likely I'll just be croaky but more or less audible so long as I don't overdo it. The class that (in)conveniently meets once, then skips a week thanks to Labor Day, is fortunately the first one. Everybody else I see again on Weds., and then in a week (by which time add/drop will be over and my voice should be solidly back).
We are not even *allowed* to cancel class but must get a sub. The exception is waking up too sick to get out of bed, which has happened to me 2x in 13 years. WTF, people.
I've never cancelled a class either, though I've had them cancelled for me by snowstorms.
At my one adjunct gig, labs don't meet the first meeting of the week (they meet 2X's a week) during that first week of class. I am amazed at the amount of cancelling! I have canceled for snow (hour-long drive in blizzard bad) and for being unable to stand-up without spewing vomit. Each time I posted slides on the CMS along with a quiz.
Being unsure of one's ability to make it through the standard classroom period (or the drive to campus) without urgently needing to visit the bathroom for one reason or another (and/or being uncertain that one would actually make it to the bathroom in time) has always struck me as one of the best reasons for canceling class. I suppose it might get more complicated if the condition were prolonged (e.g. if one were pregnant, suffering from morning sickness, and blessed with an early class), but such situations usually are of relatively short duration, and often quite contagious, which seems like a very good argument for staying home. I do wonder whether some of the apparently epidemic absenteeism has some connection to overuse of overextended adjuncts, but you'd think the effects of that would be more likely to hit later in the semester. On the other hand, if some people don't have gas/bus money until they receive a paycheck, that might play a role. Still, I don't think that can be the main factor.
I also hate that the students are so happy that class was cancelled. You'd think they'd be annoyed. Some are, but most seem pretty glad. Of course, I guess I was always pleased to get an extra hour in my schedule on the incredibly infrequent occasion of a prof canceling a class when I was in college. But I do remember one professor for whom it wasn't incredibly infrequent, and several of us actually went and complained to the chair. Then again, they don't know any better, and apparently neither do their profs. Jesus, I wish I was the kind of person who could just phone it in like that. I really do.