Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not in turmoil about what to do, or fearful or anything at all like most of your writers who seem determined to be up in arms about whatever, but never do more than write "pretend" letters to you about what they would do only if...
"Only if" doesn't exist for me. I'm old, have tenure, run a tiny department, and have no one to answer to. (The Dean lives on my street and we drink malted beverages 3 nights a week.)
So, my only reason for writing is to say, "Why don't college students make their college education a priority?"
Just this past week I had the following:
- Baffled Brittany who missed both classes because her mom wanted her to get a flu shot, not just any flu shot, but the one that her family doctor administered 250 miles away in Podunkville. That Dr. Homebody gets the same shipment of drugs as the campus dispensary doesn't matter. Better to miss 2 days of class.
- Dull Daryl who missed both classes but barraged me with emails telling me he wouldn't be in class, and could I write to him the "jist" of what he had missed. When I tried to reply to him, the school's server replied with: "Student account closed for code violations."
- Isolated Ike who missed one class and joined the other one 30 minutes in progress. When I asked him where he'd been, he said, "I just let the days get away from me, I guess."
- Ringing Rodney who twice grabbed his loudly ringing phone and then took calls out in the hallway (small thanks, I suppose). After class I reminded him that it's polite to turn off all electronic devices during class. Rodney replied, "I never hear my vibrate mode. Plus I've got some stuff going on that I need to keep tabs on."
- Ailing Abigail who came to class to tell me she couldn't attend because she felt that the flu was coming on. I told her, fine, take it easy, go take care of yourself. An hour later after I finished class, I strolled back to my office and spotted her eating a submarine sandwich and chips while sitting on the grass outside our classroom building, talking with friends.
Oh, those examples are probably pretty tame. But, seriously, does anyone else find that students just don't make these darn classes we offer a priority? As I said, I'm not tied in knots about it. I don't let it worry me, and penalties for bullshit are pretty clear in my class. These folks aren't getting away with anything on me, and I'm not going out of my way to help them avoid the work they think they're avoiding, but where does this laissez-faire attention to their studies come from?