Friday, January 28, 2011

Silvano with a Swagger Starts Late

Yesterday marked the first full week of the term, and the end of the drop/add period. There have been a few names on my roster that haven't shown. It's the usual. I wait the week, then remove them from the list. Inevitably, one or two of those names waltz in after that first week, and I usually tell them they are too late,and have missed too much work already. That always turns out to be a hassle. They whine and cry about not knowing they had my class, or that they didn't have their schedules/books/whatever yet. While admin talks about refusing late registration, they actually encourage us to accept these students anyway- bodies in the seats, I guess.

So, I avoided the hassle this term when Silvano with a Swagger entered my class 4 minutes late and took a seat. I just asked him his name. "Silvano with a Swagger," he said, seemingly surprised that I didn't already know this. "Ok. See me after class," said I. I proceeded as usual.

After, he approached me and said, "Hey."
"I'm Silvano...with a Swagger. You told me to see you."
"Oh yes. You missed a full week of work already, so you'll..."
Silvano with a Swagger cut me off, "Yeah, I know, but I just got here."

Just last term, I would've asked why, but I've realized that it just doesn't matter. I would've been annoyed that he cut me off, but I wasn't. Instead, I just said, "Ok. You've missed a full week of work. Download the syllabus, complete assignment one, and see if a classmate can share notes with you."

Silvano with a Swagger looked dumbfounded. "Well, can't you just give me that stuff?"
"No," I said, "I gave everyone that 'stuff' the first week of class, when you weren't here yet. You'll have to get it yourself. See you Monday," and I left.

It felt good.


  1. FAN-DAMN-TASTIC! Kudos to you.

    I put a box in my syllabus: "I no longer respond to "What did I miss in class?" emails. Check the calendar, check the course website, email a classmate. Exception only for prolonged illness, with documentation."

    We'll see how long it takes for one of them to email me.

  2. I had a foreign student do this. Same guy. TWICE (different semesters of course), for a one/night/week class. Did he think I forgot?

    We actually DO stuff on the first night... Folks who miss it never catch up (of course, I do what BurntChrome does: if it's a medical thing, that's another matter).

    [I was sure this same guy bought his final paper from a paper mill, but couldn't prove it.]

  3. I hate grossly immature, patently unprofessional behavior like this. It causes me to say: "If you did any job in the world like you're doing this class, you'd be FIRED," and, "Take some responsibility, like an ADULT, willya?"

  4. Mestopholita, that was exactly the right response. I tell students the same thing, but I'm still working on the not being annoyed part. The dumbfounded looks that students give when you don't cater to their flakiness is priceless.

  5. Amazingly enough, I just had a conversation with a student who is registered for my class but has never shown up. We started class on Jan. 4th. It is now Jan. 28th. He has missed over 25% of the semester. We aren't allowed to withdraw students; I have to ask them to withdraw themselves. What does this guy say to me when I tell him to withdraw? "Oh, I'm still planning to come to class. I've been away." WHAT? I don't think so, buddy.

  6. Silvano: Eh, teach, what did I miss?
    Me: A certain form that, if not signed by the student on the first day, allows me to deport you to Siberia.
    Silvano: Da Fuck?!
    Me: Boris, Vladamir take this shitbird away!
    [Two men in Russian Army uniforms appear from behind, handcuff Silvano, and drag him off]
    Silvano: Teach! You motherfuckerrr....
    [Sound of door slamming]
    Me: One down, 299 million to go.


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