Monday, October 3, 2011

Crazy Pills

Today I received a voice mail from a student asking me to call them back over an "urgent" matter. The voice mail was pleasant enough so I take a deep breath and dial the number. I am greeted by a screaming banshee on the other end of the line. The urgent manner, the student not agreeing with my late policy which is clearly stated in the syllabus. I take a deep breath and reiterate the syllabus, no assignments are accepted late unless there is an emergency blah blah blah. The student can't hear me however because they are too busy screaming that I am "mean" and other less than flattering adjectives.

I want to hang up but I do not, because unlike this student I understand professional behavior. I guess they realized that this amazing display of a temper tantrum was not going to get their assignment accepted because they stopped yelling - 30 minutes later.

I would like to say that I do not understand where this type of behavior comes from, but I do. The administration of my college is "student friendly". I am consistently told to accept late work, take rewrites for plagiarized papers, etc. The students know that if they throw a temper tantrum they will get their way in the name of student retention. I am only an adjunct with a mortgage to pay so I have to bite my tongue, bend over and ask for another.

I need a drink with all these crazy pills I have to take.



  2. Of course this sucks if you school won't support you and your reasonable policies. The student is unprofessional and maybe needs some of the crazy pills if you have some to spare.

    However, you can avoid this scenario if you align your policies with your school's. I know, more suckage and all but you have a choice. Continue to feel walked over or get out of the way.

  3. @Beaker Ben, unfortunately my policy IS the university policy. It just isn't enforced. Sigh.

  4. FML, why on earth did you give this nutjob a half an hour! I understand letting them vent a tad in the interest of being able to say you listened to their concerns, but really, a few minutes would have been sufficient. Ugh.

    Try to keep as much on email with this idiot as you can, so that there's a printed record of their ridiculous behaviour.

  5. I would have interrupted, saying, "Student, can you hear me? Hello?" Then, when the student paused, I would say, "Since you seem dissatisfied, why don't you email me your complaints and I will respond line by line? I look forward to receiving your email." Then hang up quickly.

    Spoken words are not recorded words. I no longer deal with "off the record" communications with students.

  6. FML, I know the feeling all too well. The inmates are running the asylum. Nevertheless, you still don't have to tolerate abusive behavior. The next anonymous, abusive call like this you get, hang up at once. Professional behavior is founded on respect, and respect is a two-way street: if they don't give you any, you don't owe them any.

    Again, at a fine restaurant or hotel, a customer abusing the staff like this would be refused service and asked to leave, and if this customer refused to leave the premises, the staff could call the police. You should have the same rights.

  7. This is why I generally don't deal with students on the phone. Email "yelling" is much easier to take, and it can be forwarded to the dean to deal with. I hope you at least put them on speakerphone to rant while you played Freecell for a while. (Wait, does anyone still play Freecell?)


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