Thursday, January 16, 2014

Snowflake Mail, From Sarcastic Bastard.

I found this in today's in box. By the way, the class is full, there are daily assignments, and the add/drop deadline has passed.


Hello Sarcastic Bastard,

I am a current student at the university and I am wondering if your Hamster Fur Weaving 2565 - 02 class has a midterm?

I am going on a trip from February 21 - March 3 and need to find a class that does not have a midterm / assignments due during that week. Hopefully your class.

Im sorry for the short notice, but if you could get back to me ASAP it would be greatly appreciated. The last day to add/drop classes is tomorrow and I am desperate to find a class that works with my full-time work schedule and also my trip that, unfortunately, I cannot cancel.

Looking forward to speaking with you.

Thank you,
Travelling Tommy


  1. Good grief! I can see Tommy in a job interview: "I want to work for a company whose business schedule won't interfere with my lifestyle."

    This also reminds me of a service course I taught where I got a volley of complaints from students for scheduling a mid-term exam during a week that class had planned a ski trip, a trip which, by the way, I knew nothing about. How dare I interfere with their recreational activities!

    That didn't surprise me, though, because I taught those students the term before. They often skipped my lectures so that they could work on a beer bash to be held to raise funds for their graduation dinner.

  2. Dear Tommy,

    Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to reply to your email before the add/drop line yesterday. I hope you were able to find a course that fits your travel schedule. (That wouldn't be my course, since I have a midterm and a major assignment due during that period.)

  3. I absolutely hate these late dates for adding courses. In most courses, by the time the first two weeks have gone by, it's too late to catch up. The textbooks have probably sold out and it will take another week at best to get one from an online retailer (textbooks often being in low supply). And then they expect you to help them catch up and that you'll be happy to be their last chance. I'd like to know the comparative grades of the snowflake-come-latelies.

    1. We kept track of such snowflake-come-latelies for just this reason! While I can't recall the exact data, the rates of D,F and W grades were very high. It led us to change our add policy. It doesn't stop the inane emails.

    2. Our add/drop period has shrunk lately, too. I'd love to think it's because somebody discovered the sort of data ACA describes, which I can confirm anecdotally, but I suspect it's more that a shorter drop period results in fuller classes on capitation day (that the approach that extracts the maximum amount of money from the state also makes sense pedagogically is just a nice side effect, on which I, at least, appreciate very much).

  4. Dear Tommy,

    Is there any way I might be able to BEG you NOT to take my class?

  5. ....Well... you have to give him credit for straight-up telling the truth...

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