Friday, June 25, 2010

Dipshit Dominic and the E-mail Dilemma

Dipshit Dominic was in my winter class. Bad weather was approaching and the city usually failed to clean the street around my apartment after snowfall. After watching the weather forecasts for the 24 hours leading up to class time, I realized that heavy snowfall was going to fall the morning of my afternoon classes. So, despite my lame-ass school's indecision about canceling classes to preserve the safety of its many commuter students (or staff...but we're expendable!), I decided to e-mail my students, cancel class, and then deal with any admin reprimands later (after having avoided death by icicle or a broken leg). So, giving about 18 hours notice, I sent a mass e-mail to my classes, telling them that our early afternoon meetings for that one day were canceled.

Fast-forward 2 days and 18 hours later, and I arrive to class. Dominic is angry with me and has no compunctions about telling me he's pissed I didn't notify him about canceling class. I calmly told him I sent an e-mail, asked if he had checked his e-mail for a message (he had), and then advised him to check his spam folder just in case the U system dumped it there. I left him to check his e-mail on the room's PC while I circulated around the room to answer other questions before class started.

Eventually, I maneuvered back over to Dom...

"So, did you find the e-mail in your spam folder?" I politely asked him.

"No," he snapped at me, turning away.

"Oh, well, let me send you another e-mail right now before class starts so we can figure out what's wrong with your e-mail."

"It was there."

"What do you mean it was there? You said you checked your e-mail on the snow day and it wasn't there. Was there lag?" I pressed because I was curious. I had worked at another U where there were massive e-mail problems and I really wanted to figure out what the problem was.

"I don't want to talk about it."

"What? I need to know what the problem was..." I trailed off realizing he still wouldn't look at me.

"Oh," I sighed, "it was on another page wasn't it?"

He looked back at me sheepishly. "Yeah," he said. "I didn't realize the e-mail had started another page."

I laughed. "Oh, that's ok," I told him. "I've done that too. Just be careful about that in the future. You don't want to miss any important messages."

And, being the adult (despite the fact he looked like he was my age...deep in my thirties), I got up and walked away from a teachable moment.

Later, I started thinking about it. He YELLED at me and accused me of doing something wrong. He REFUSED to answer a direct question I had asked him about what had happened. He had refused to reveal that HE WAS THE ONE WHO MADE THE MISTAKE. And then I got mad. REALLY mad.

I started fantasizing (sans costumes, you pervs) that if it had been the 1950s and I had been one of those mythical nuns with a stout wooden pointer, I would have caned his sorry ass for lying, for falsely accusing me and for being insubordinate.

Now, I find the situation more funny than anything, but one question remains:

Why do people think this sort of person is qualified to help determine whether a college instructor is doing his or her job?

Cuz I'll tell you what: by the time I quit teaching at that school, students like him were the norm in most classrooms.


  1. I had a student like that once.

    After going through the solution for a mid-term exam, he swore up and down that his answer was correct and the one I wrote on the board simply had to be wrong. Meanwhile, everyone else agreed with me.

    Then he discovered that his calculator was set in *radians* instead of degrees, so the calculations involving angles were quite clearly incorrect.

    I suspected he might have dined on crow later that same day, but he didn't stay in the department long enough for me to find out.

  2. this website is already dead. there's supposed to be a bunch of moderators but only one post is up. that sucks.

  3. Terry, there are nine up. Spanning 2 days.

    You could always join and post something, you know.

    It's nice to see your disparaging commentary across the web-site though.

    Nice show, douchebag.

  4. Fascinating. And here I had always thought that denying anonymous comments would prevent morons from making stupid, negative comments that prove (among other things) that they can't read. But here we have Terry Franklin! (Hi, Terry Franklin!) Who - even though he's not anonymous - still seems to think it was a good idea to waste his time and ours posting a dumb comment about the deadness of this site.

    Well, Terry, you don't need to visit this site, and you certainly don't need to comment. I can't think why you bothered. But I do thank you for leaving your name.


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