Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"I'm on Vacation"

Dr. Bison,

I'm sorry I can't participate in your online class this week. I'm on vacation and left the reading packet at home. I hope that's ok.

Vacationing Val

Dear Val,
I think I understand. It's the beginning of October, and we've been in school for a month. You must be a leaf-peeper, am I right? The colors are quite impressive, I admit. The leaves only change colors once each year and you have to get out there while the colors are bright. 

That's the only reason I can wrap my head around the fact that you picked right fucking now to go on vacation. You've worked hard (sort of) for these past four weeks, so you deserve a break. It's been a whole month since your last vacation, I'm sure. So go ahead! Get out there and peep those leaves! I'll just be here in my office, full of rage and not on vacation, giving you the participation grade for this week you so richly deserve.

All the best,

Dr. Bison


  1. Dear Val,

    It's AOK by me, but you will get a zero for each grade this week.


  2. Every time I get something like this, particularly when it comes with "I hope that's OK" since they know in their hearts damn well that it is NOT OK, I make certain they know this by writing back, "No, it's not OK. A real boss in the real world would not like it."

    But of course, I have tenure. I did write things like this before I had tenure, with the result that I very nearly was denied tenure.

  3. Dear Val: sure, no problem at all. It was very easy for me to put Os in the grade book. Thanks for not giving me more work to do. I appreciate it, man.

  4. I tell them that I'm not going on vacation because I knew when classes were and I didn't schedule a vacation in that time--my students expect me to be there, and I expect them to be there.

    But they must get excused frequently because they don't seem to think they are asking for anything out of the ordinary.

    1. Yes, and at least some think we lie to do this, too. I recently took a week of bereavement leave to help a very close relative do a funeral, lots of impending-winter rural chores, and various bureaucratic tasks related to the death certificate. I announced briefly that I was going out of state for a funeral, told them they'd have subs and an exam right on schedule when I returned, and came back with an obviously wrenched shoulder.

      One of the students emailed me, "I hope you had a nice mini-vacation ;-)".

  5. I have found that even if the don't miss any assignments (I had a kid who took a week off to go on vacation too) they will fail the exam. People who vacation in the middle of the semester rarely have the self discipline to do the work at all.

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