Sunday, August 18, 2013

Le French Professeur Would Like Us to Help Finish a Syllabus. Sacre Bleu!

Ok guys, I am finishing my syllabus and I have decided to put a bit of flava at the end with a not-entirely-impersonal FAQ. Is there any other entry you would suggest?


Q: My parent / legal custodian / parole officer wants to discuss my performance in your class.
A: FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) precludes me from discussing your performance with anyone but you. On some cases – if you apply for a job that requires a security clearance – I may be required to reveal some personal information to a government agent. If you have ever hacked into a computer system don’t let me know that you did. Neither I need to know that you belong or have belonged to the Communist Party.

Q: I need to go.
A: By all means don’t even thing about asking for permission. This is not high school.

Q: I am feeling poorly, can I go home?
A: Of course, you should. Thank you for your consideration towards the rest of the class by not exposing them to germs. Some of the other students are parents.

Q: My parent / child / spouse is in hospital and I need to be there.
A: Of course you do. Unless French [replace with your discipline] is more important for you that those that you love. (If it is, you need help).

Q: The sitter has called off and I need to bring my infant child to class.
A: Please don’t. Your offspring is not covered by CrappyU insurance policies and I am liable for anything that may happen to it.

Q: Can I bring my friend / significant other / parent / grown-up child to class?
A: You’re are welcome to do so as long as there is no class disruption nor we go over the maximum of people allowed in the classroom. I may treat them as any other student and ask them questions, though.

Q: Can I use this class as an honors class?
A: No, you can’t.

Q: I need to improve my grade. Can I have some extra credit?
A: I will not offer extra credit under any circumstance.

Q: What do you mean when you answer an email with “CTFS”?
A: “Check the free syllabus”


  1. Q: Is this all there is?

    A: Mon Dieu!

  2. Q: Do I have to do this assignment?

    A: You're in college. It is your choice whether or not to do the work, and you have to accept the grade that comes from making that choice.

  3. Q: It's not fair!

    A: Yes, it is.

    1. Just for grins, ask one of them to define "fair" sometime. I've never found one able to do so.

  4. Thanks for this! I try to keep my syllabus to two pages, but I had forgotten to include the all-important sentence:
    There will be no "extra credit " assignments.

    The following are already there:
    I do not "grade on a curve".

    There will be no makeup exams, even for justified absences (you may drop the lowest exam score).

    Classroom behavior expectations: no laptops, texting, cell phone use or reading of extraneous materials in class. This policy wll be enforced.

  5. Oh, French Professeur, this is lovely. Except that part of me feels like telling them they need help if they prioritize your class over personal connections could come back to haunt you.

    Lex, your addition made me laugh so hard I scared my dog.

  6. This is a really good idea, though I doubt our undergrads would understand the Communism reference. :P

  7. To the first Q, I would add "coach," and then to the A something about even if you've signed a form waiving FERPA, it isn't really to your advantage to have someone else monitoring your academic progress, since c. 98% of your classmates are monitoring their own progress, and learning useful skills in the process.

  8. Q. Can I use an older edition of the textbook to save money?

    A. The older the edition, the more topics, assignments, and page numbers will be different from those on the syllabus. I understand that the current edition is very expensive, so I have put a copy on reserve in the library. It is your responsibility to compare it to an older edition if you choose to use one.

    At my school, the answer to "Can I bring my friend / significant other / parent / grown-up child to class?" would be the same as for an infant. CrappyU insurance does not cover them.

  9. does the "F" in CTFS really stand for "free'?


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