Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hard Henry From Hudson on Snowflakes Who Have The Laissez-Faire Approach to Higher Ed. RYS Flashback: 4 Years Ago Today..

Monday, September 21, 2009

I don't know if I'm just tired or what, but this latest group of student-snowflakes has already worn me down to the nub.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not in turmoil about what to do, or fearful or anything at all like most of your writers who seem determined to be up in arms about whatever, but never do more than write "pretend" letters to you about what they would do only if...

"Only if" doesn't exist for me. I'm old, have tenure, run a tiny department, and have no one to answer to. (The Dean lives on my street and we drink malted beverages 3 nights a week.)

So, my only reason for writing is to say, "Why don't college students make their college education a priority?"

Just this past week I had the following:

  • Baffled Brittany who missed both classes because her mom wanted her to get a flu shot, not just any flu shot, but the one that her family doctor administered 250 miles away in Podunkville. That Dr. Homebody gets the same shipment of drugs as the campus dispensary doesn't matter. Better to miss 2 days of class.
  • Dull Daryl who missed both classes but barraged me with emails telling me he wouldn't be in class, and could I write to him the "jist" of what he had missed. When I tried to reply to him, the school's server replied with: "Student account closed for code violations."
  • Isolated Ike who missed one class and joined the other one 30 minutes in progress. When I asked him where he'd been, he said, "I just let the days get away from me, I guess."
  • Ringing Rodney who twice grabbed his loudly ringing phone and then took calls out in the hallway (small thanks, I suppose). After class I reminded him that it's polite to turn off all electronic devices during class. Rodney replied, "I never hear my vibrate mode. Plus I've got some stuff going on that I need to keep tabs on."
  • Ailing Abigail who came to class to tell me she couldn't attend because she felt that the flu was coming on. I told her, fine, take it easy, go take care of yourself. An hour later after I finished class, I strolled back to my office and spotted her eating a submarine sandwich and chips while sitting on the grass outside our classroom building, talking with friends.

Oh, those examples are probably pretty tame. But, seriously, does anyone else find that students just don't make these darn classes we offer a priority? As I said, I'm not tied in knots about it. I don't let it worry me, and penalties for bullshit are pretty clear in my class. These folks aren't getting away with anything on me, and I'm not going out of my way to help them avoid the work they think they're avoiding, but where does this laissez-faire attention to their studies come from?


  1. The laissez-faire attention to their studies comes from their viewing education not as a privilege, as you and I did, but as an entitlement, as many of them were carefully taught to do by the self-esteem movement. I'd tell all of them that real bosses in the real world won't like what they're doing. Ailing Abigail would make me particularly angry: if there's anything that drives me batshit loco, it's when students lie to me WHEN THEY DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TO!

  2. Hard Henry must be new at this...he cares enough not only to remember it, but to report it. Poor thing.

    Nah, these days if I hear (or read) anything from a student that isn't a direct question on the material, I just mumble "hmm, okay", and it doesn't make it to short-term memory. If it's email, it goes unanswered. If it's the usual kind of question about tests, fair enough, a short answer suffices. It leaves no emotional track.

  3. Two emails arrived within minutes of each other: one from a student saying her computer "wouldn't let" her save her document in PDF format and therefore she didn't turn the assignment in, and should she print a hard copy to bring to me on Tuesday? This despite the PDF document I painstakingly taught myself how to make, one using screen caps and arrows and stuff to show how to save a word doc as a PDF, that I posted two days ago on our LMS. The other from a flake who is staying at "a resort with terrible wifi which kept dropping out and when I tried to load it again the Dropbox was closed so that's why I didn't turn it in."

    I thank the gods, large and small, every day that I earned tenure two years ago. Because when I give the "tech problems are not my problem because they're usually the result of waiting til the last minute" spiel on the first day (complete with handout repeating same), I can rest easy that I don't have to repeat it, and I don't have to accept late work because an adminiflake says I have to.

    They don't take it seriously because it's not perceived as having value. They (or their parents) are paying, so they (or their parents) know the cost, but they don't understand the value.