Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Small and the Miserable

Scenes from an ordinary Monday at LD3C:

Sullen Student: "I took Literature of the Basket Weavers because I thought it would be an easy grade!"

Snarky Student: "I know, right? It's like a real course...and it's a fucking elective!"

Sullen Student: "She grades like this is a real college or something."

Snarky Student: "And she takes off points for grammar...and it's a fucking lit class!"


Perennially Late Student: "Mrs. Greta, I left my homework home. Can I turn it in Wednesday?"

Me at my desk in my office: Silence.

Perennially Late Student: "Mrs. Greta? Mrs. Greta? Did you hear what I said?"

Me: Silence.

Perennially Late Student, louder: "Professor Greta, did you hear me?"

Me, cheerily: "Hello, Mr. Student: What can I do for you?"

Perennially Late Student, annoyed now: "I just asked you if I could turn in my homework Wednesday."

Me: "Oh! Were you talking to me? I thought I heard you addressing Mrs. Someoneorother."

Perennially Late Student: "What?"

Me, evenly and politely: "I've told the class to address me as Ms. Greta or Professor Greta. It's even in the syllabus. I don't answer to Mrs. Greta."

Perennially Late Student, disbelieving: "What is your problem?"

Me, evenly and politely: "I don't have a problem, Miss Student, do you?"

Perennially Late Student: "I ain't no Miss -- Oooooh!"

Me: "You may turn in Wednesday's homework Wednesday. I don't take late work. You know that, Mr. Student."

Perennially Late Student, smiling broadly now: "I get it. Okay, Ms. Greta. See you Wednesday!"


Needy Student, in the middle of the hallway, catching me before I go into the bathroom: "Um, what's my grade?"

Me, with one hand on the bathroom door: "Hi, Ms. Student. You should be keeping track of your grade yourself. It's also posted on Blackboard."

Needy Student: "But my computer's really slow and I have trouble with Blackboard and--"

Me: "Can this wait, please?" Into the bathroom I go.

Six minutes later, as I'm heading back to my office...

Dr. Chair: "Greta, can I see you for a minute?"

Me: "Sure."

Dr. Chair: "A student of yours just came into my office to say that you'd been rude to her."

Me: "Was it [description of Needy Student]?"

Dr. Chair: "Yes, yes it was."

Me: "Did she tell you that she stopped me on the way into the bathroom?"

Dr. Chair: "Ah, no. No she didn't."

Me: "So..."

Dr. Chair: "We're done here. And, hey, at least she didn't follow you into the bathroom."


Email from student:

Dear Prof. Greta,

I am profoundly sad to report to you that I will be unable to attend the last week of classes because of a family reunion in Shreveport. It happens every year, and I cannot miss it.

Sally Student

My response:

Dear Ms. Student,

You have a take-home final due the last week and I will not administer it early. Your final presentation will also be given in the last week. Failing those two assignments is a decision only you can make.

Prof. Greta

A near-immediate response:

Dear Prof. Greta,

I will talk to my mother about scheduling.

Sally Student


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "It's like a real course . . ."

    "Oh, I'm sorry. Were you expecting a real 'A?' Only real students get those. Enjoy your C-!"


    This is one of those posts that I can read again and again and just die laughing. The scenario, damn are these students like clones or something? I seem to get these same students all the time.

  4. @Oh, Mrs. Greta... I think we share some students. This made my day!!!
    --Mrs. Contemplative

    @Annapolis, I wish I'd thought to say that to a kid who told me it was just a GE class...

  5. "I don't have a problem, Miss Student, do you?"

    LOVE it!!!

  6. spot-on response from your Dr Chair.

  7. Pat youself on the back. By holding up standards, you helped a student stand up to controlling parents and avoid a family reunion.

    Gold star for you!

  8. The bathroom conference! I know it well.

  9. "She grades like this is a real college or something."

    And that means they'll graduate with a real college education. Funny how that works.


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