Friday, July 19, 2013

CM Flashback. 2 Years Ago. How Do We Know if They're Lying? (Yeah, Their Lips Move...)

Hirohito Basketweaver, Ph.D. Needs Input.

I'm teaching a five-week summer class. We meet daily, have quizzes daily, and the first draft of the big essay is due today (Tuesday of week two). Here's an email I just received from a student who has missed five out of the first six classes and done no work:
"Sorry I have not been present to class, my dad has suffered a massive heart attack and is at Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville, I have kept up with the material, its the only thing thats really keeping me sane. I will be there tomorrow, my dad is finally somewhat stable. thank you
Jo Flake"
Here's my immediate response:
Dear Jo Flake,
You've missed way too much class. You've attended one class our of six and earned no points. The syllabus clearly states that I allow no more than two absences. There's no way you can pass at this point. Try again some semester when you don't have this kind of distraction.
Hirohito Basketweaver, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - Department of Basketweaving
Jo Flake wrote back five minutes later:
"I know it does but Ive pretty much written review/essays about these [baskets] since Ive been here at the Hospital which i can send you, I really need this class, my dad said never to give up so could you please help me out? I wont miss anymore class
Jo Flake"
I'm not sure how to respond or if I should at all. I don't appreciate the attempt at manipulation; that's for sure.


  1. Dear Jo Flake,
    I am desolated for you father's illness, and relieved that he's doing better. You have definitely done the right thing by focusing on him. In a situation such as this, coursework needs to take the back seat, even if that means that you'll need to retake the class. Since you kept up with the material I am sure it'll not be too much of a trouble to clear this class next semester. Make sure to drop this class as soon as you can.
    I'll keep your father in my prayers to [Jesus / Hanuman, the monkey god / Willy Wonka]


  2. Ugh. "My dad said never to give up."

    They watch too much reality TV.

    When I hear someone deploy a hyperbolic platitude, I take it to mean the following:

    "I am an irresponsible fuck-up with no work ethic. I believe that a sassy attitude alone is enough to succeed in any endeavor. If you hold me accountable for the course requirements without exception, I will accuse you of being unsupportive and of standing in the way of my dreams."

  3. What does "pretty much written" mean? Is the stuff floating around in his imagination still? I like French Prof's reply.

  4. Kids these days really do watch far too much television. They have no idea that real life is never that melodramatic.

  5. I have a student who has missed a tremendous amount of our summer course so far (showed up for two periods out of seven, and missed the entire first week). I don't have an attendance policy anymore (just gave it up for the first time--done with taking attendance!!!!), so it's only going to impact the assignments he missed. Honestly, I wouldn't mind if he didn't show up 90% of the time and just turned in the essays. Judging by our admittedly limited interactions so far, he seems like a jerk.


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