Thursday, November 17, 2011

Short Deadline Thirsty: Cancelling classes before break?

Dr. Jekyll:  My four year university has no classes during Thanksgiving week.  One of my undergraduate classes meets on Friday.  Many of you know what is coming next.  A number of students have asked if I am canceling tomorrow's class.  How many of you have found yourselves in a similar situation?  How did you handle it?

Prof. Hyde:  Thankfully, I don't have to give a damn about my teacher evaluations.  It will make the surprise quiz I am planning for tomorrow all the more tasty as a Thanksgiving appetizer.



  1. Awesome. Love it.

    My system only has "off" the day of and the day after, though there is a lobbying effort underway to give us a "fall break" during this week.

    Gun-deer season starts on Saturday here, so I expect attendance to be somewhat down on Monday and Tuesday next week.

    In a bit of 'flaky behavior myself, I am traveling overnight Tuesday night, so Wednesday classes are now "research" days...not canceled, precisely, but we won't be meeting F2F. I'll log in from my undisclosed location on Wednesday to put out any fires.

  2. We have class on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, so there is tremendous pressure to cancel Tuesday classes. Of course, if students don't have classes on Tuesday, they don't want to come on Monday either.
    I usually just plan something important like a quiz or midterm exam for those days. When students complain, I tell them that no matter how short or long a break is there will always be a day beforehand and a day afterwards and that those are known as class days.

  3. My university has classes right up to Wednesday. The class I teach is Monday and Wednesday afternoons. I'm not allowed to cancel class, but I really don't expect anyone to be there, so I planned for that; they're doing online peer review and class time is for Q&A about their papers.

  4. Classes on Monday and Tuesday at the two colleges where I teach. Since I (stupidly) made papers due right before break, those two days are "writing days," where all of the angelic little snowflakes will be diligently polishing the papers that they've been working on for the last few weeks.

    (Keyboard rebooted due to irony overload)

    My practical justification for it is thus: it's hard to provoke students to conversation on days when a paper is due, and similarly hard on days right before break, so rather than suffer the double whammy I just let them off.

    That, and I seriously need to get the hell out of Dodge for turkey day.

  5. At my decidedly non-commuter undergrad institution, we had classes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which I attended before getting on a plane and flying several states away, where I produced a full Thanksgiving dinner less than 24 hours after arrival (my mother was dead and my grandmothers were getting too elderly to do it, so I was the designated cook, which was fine with me. My father shopped for groceries, washed dishes, set the table, and ferried grandmothers to and from each others' houses. It worked; we had a nice dinner; I got to sleep late on Friday.). So I've got a bit of a walked-uphill-to-school-both-ways attitude about Thanksgiving break, especially given the fact that few students at my school live more than an hour or two's drive away.

    That said, we have classes on Monday and Tuesday, and I have planned either group work (which could be done at another time or online if the whole group agrees, though most of them seem to be planning to come) or individual conferences (with appointments on other days available). At this point in the term, such activities are appropriate, and (perhaps more relevant) I don't have the energy to fight about it.

  6. I'm currently a grad student in an undergraduate language course. My professor for that class rewarded the students for singing the song correctly (not in English) by canceling the next class. Honestly, I think the professor had to cancel the class for other reasons, but still in order to get them to participate he had to give them this ridiculous incentive. And, yes, these are the same students who cry about tuition going up, yet want class to be canceled!!! On another note, when I studied abroad in the Middle East, my university forced professors to make up any missed classes on the WEEKEND or on another day of the week. The students seemed to think it was quite natural to makeup any missed days.

    I know I have strayed from the topic at hand - sorry.

  7. Pardon my language.


    Really, students? COME THE FUCK ON.

    You got Thursday off. Then you got Friday off. Then a lot of unis started canceling Wednesday too.

    That left just Monday and Tuesday, and fuck all no one wanted to come Monday and Tuesday! So now you have the WHOLE BLOODY WEEK.

    Give them an inch and they swim all over you.

    Hold class. Give them a fucking exam. And when they complain, write them an email in caps about what pieces of shit they are.

    (okay, don't do the last bit)

  8. @AM Fuckin' A.

    We're giving them a fucking exam. It would be on Tuesday if class were normally scheduled on Tuesday.

    No classes on Wednesday; gotta give 'em time to drive home.

  9. Atua said:

    "And, yes, these are the same students who cry about tuition going up, yet want class to be canceled!!!"

    Education: one of the only professions where customers want less for their money.

  10. This is one of my pet peeves, especially at my mostly commuter campus where (generally speaking) most of the students are staying in town for the holidays because (generally speaking) no one ever leaves this town to go anywhere. So I am left to wonder why they need an extra two days to drive the five minutes it takes to get to Grandma's house. I mean, the one student in the classroom whose family is in California might be able to give me a story I'd "fall" for, but the rest of them?

    But now, thanks to Addled up above, I have a more mature, well-thought out response to the next darling who asks me if we are having class on Monday and/or Tuesday. Woot!


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