After many years of lurking, through the Great Transition, even gaining posting rights a few years ago and promptly never actually posting, I thought I'd email my misery a few times this past fall. It was a mostly pleasant experience (despite the constant hazing..."ThankyousirmayIhaveanother!).
I teach in the Humanities at mid-sized, Master's-level public institution. Earned tenure a few years ago and still feel pretty green even though I'm no longer the youngest TT in my department. I weathered a storm in which a number of colleagues received termination notices (due to the economy, but later almost all rescinded) and even managed to successfully propose a program that has grown to roughly half the student population in our department.
That pretty much made me the target of the old guard, who even went so far as to suggest that I teach a certain course because it would be good if, you know, I taught "majors."
Ok, enough with the Katie-ing.
I thought I'd waste my very first official(tm) CM posting on a classic tale of woe from just a few short weeks ago.
It was finals time and a snowflake in the course I subbing in for (a two week sub job that turned into half the semester) asked if they could take the final early. I sighed and said yes, I'd offer a time a few days earlier as an alternate time.
It was a large lecture and I didn't feel like having to come in a dozen times immediately before Christmas to proctor individual finals, so I decided on a time and emailed it to the class, indicating that students may choose to come to either, but there would be no exceptions.
I got an instant response from the flake, which included the line "I was wondering if I could take the final exam on Monday afternoon instead of Tuesday as I have finals all day Tuesday and will be out of town right after my last final on Tuesday."
It is important to note that the final for my class was scheduled and published as being on Thursday, with the alternate I proposed scheduled for Tuesday.
My response indicated that their last final was actually Thursday (!) and that they had to stick with the schedule. Back and forth the negotiations went, and I finally relented and said that I'd provide a copy of the exam to our department office staff for the student to take at their convenience.
Part of the exam required extra technology, however, and this was unavailable in the proposed scenario. I made it clear that the flake would be choosing to sacrifice this portion of the exam, which caused another round of negotiations. I was exasperated at this point and actually called the Dean's office in anticipation of some sort of appeal.
And then the flake did something that caused me to utterly cave, I'm ashamed to admit. They said, "Please, please, please Sir could the Office manager or a staff member there please let me (do the technology) part?"
The flake was so pushy throughout the negotiations that I knew that they would hound the office staff relentlessly if I said no, so I said that I'd simply recalculate the grade minus the part in question.
I felt a sense of resignation at having essentially totally given up because the flake had found the weakness in the last remaining stand I had taken, by invoking the possibility of office staff abuse.
So my question is...what tactics (if any) have proved successful against you when finals time rolls around?
Imagine my surprise when the flake strolled in to the alternate final time that I offered. When I asked why they were there, the flake responded, "Oh, I just switched my other final."