I usually get emailed complaints about these posts. Kimmie and Terry both did them and personally I like the information to be shared, but let me voice for folks who do not want to comment on here: Some profs think these posts are unfair to professors who may have valid reasons for not showing up to class.
If a professor has a valid reason for not showing up to class, (s)he still needs to email the class in advance if possible. Just not showing up isn't acceptable unless there's an emergency.
You know, Peter, back when I was teaching I often called the office to have them post a note outside class *and* sent an e-mail to the class (once such things were feasible via Blackboard). Students often ignored both. Or the office never posted a note. Or some jackass ripped the note off the door in a temper tantrum.I once had a student come to me in a huff because he was at class and I wasn;t. I told I sent an e-mail and he claimed he never got it. I told him to check his trash or spam, which he did immediately. I noticed he was acting sheepish so I got curious. He wouldn't admit that he hadn't read the 2nd page of his e-mail, which is why he hadn't read the message. Instead of fessing up to his (very common) mistake, he would rather have me think the e-mail system was broken.So, in most of these cases, I often defer to some folk wisdom dispensed by Judge Judy: How do you know when a teenager is lying? His lips are moving!
Myth, Judge Judy is a wise philosopher! And you're spot on about not admitting they got a message or saw a note. The email can be a way to cover one's backside and we can hope some of them actually read the damn thing.
I do this sort of thing mostly in my nightmares (actually, in my nightmares, I realize in December that there's a class that I'm supposed to have been teaching since August. And that I haven't prepared an exam. And that I'm standing naked in the middle of the quad contemplating this all.) I am, however, reluctant to throw stones, since, after many years of teaching different schedules, I can imagine thinking my classes were Tu/Th when they were really MW, or vice versa (but that would be less disastrous, unless the semester were starting on Tuesday, which in fact the spring semester usually does). I think I'd catch that mistake in the days before classes started, though, while writing my syllabi, so I guess the more realistic danger is that I lose track of which day of the week it actually is (though one of the side-benefits of attending church is that I usually know when it's Sunday, and can navigate from there). Or my alarm might go off, or my car break down. But yes, in those cases, I'd use one of the many means of communication available to let my students know what is going on (though I haven't yet set up a method of emailing my whole class from my smartphone, and I've only owned a smartphone for a year). If I actually manage to forget to show up on the first day of class more than once, it will probably be a sign that it's time for me to retire (whether I can afford it or not -- a separate question), but I'm afraid I *can* imagine doing it once sometime in the course of my career, for one reason or another. At the very least, I'm superstitious enough not to say "I'd never do that." But I agree that this is inappropriate behavior (and I would be ashamed if I missed my first class meeting, though I'd probably be more understanding of others, as long as the omission was accidental, or at least for a good reason). And I'm surprised that it's (apparently) so common, especially if the answer *isn't* that they haven't managed to hire "prof. staff" yet. Mostly, as you can probably guess from the above, the whole subject makes me more than a bit anxious. I fear one of those nightmares may visit soon.
I'm also (a) a bit surprised by the amount of religious language showing up in some of these tweets and (b) wondering whether some of these students were in the wrong room (even if other students were there, it's possible that the room assignment changed, and the other half of the class, and the professor, were in the newly-assigned room. Or the professor didn't get the message about the room change; that has (nearly) happened to me.)
from NickFab has sent me a number of emails (with no names) and I'm just really shocked. I'm not saying that all faculty are lazy; I'm saying that there's SOME evidence that students are going to class the first day to find out professors are late, cancelling officially, or not showing at all. I've found HUNDREDS of these on Twitter.I mean no offense. But I am offended. If I've ruffled feathers, it wasn't my attention. I'm happy to call out other professors who don't make an honest effort to meet first week classes, though.
I'm not offended,though I certainly am surprised. But I'm inclined to accept that, whatever the oddities of the sample may be, proffies who are MIA on the first day of class are an actual phenomenon (because what incentive would students -- or anybody -- have to lie about this?). Given how much we generalize here about students from samples of one or two, pointing out this twitter trend strikes me as fair game.
You presented facts and people got offended. That's nothing to feel bad about.
Nick, the complainers can go fuck themselves. We all know colleagues who would do this.
Amen. Most of these tweets indicate that the prof didn't notify the class that it was cancelled. Too many to chalk up to snowflakery. I've cancelled my fair share of classes, but I've always notified the students. And I don't know of any adjunct faculty who'd do this, their contract renewal depends too much on the student evaluations.
I love you, Ben. I want you to know that.
I missed the first day of class once and wasn't able to give advance notice because about thirty minutes before my first class was about to start, I experienced sharp lower abdominal pain, was rushed to the emergency room, and ended up having a kidney stone. That really sucked.I also had to cancel the first day of class a couple of years ago because I was still out of town that day. When I booked my flights for August back in January, the idiot administrators hadn't yet set the Fall's academic calendar. I was told by the negotiators that school was supposed to start on a particular Monday, but then randomly they decided to start the semester on the Friday beforehand. They were international flight tickets, which couldn't easily be changed, so I had to cancel the first day of class. Many of the students were in the same boat, though, having booked flights before the calendar was set, and so it ended up not being such a big deal. I emailed everyone in advance and apologized.
Hilarious. As one of my astute colleagues told me, "It's called 'tenure'". ROFL
To be fair, I usually miss 1 day of class a semester due to family emergency, illness, or academic conference. I don't think that's excessive: roughly 1 class out of 50, or 2%. There are 8 million college students in the US alone, so you would expect about 16,000 of them to have their first class cancelled for legitimate reasons.Still annoying as fuck though.
I was on Twitter today. I searched "professor let us out." It was so depressing. 50 minutes early. Hour early. Everyone happy. Good student evals at some point I'm assuming. Am I sucker for working all semester?
We're all suckers here, Nick.
Not only do I keep my students for the entire first session, but they actually have to produce a short piece of writing that counts in the overall scheme of things. They are not happy about it. I don't care. I want them to understand from the get-go that this is not nursery school (who's old enough to remember when that was what preschool was called?) and I am not a babysitter. This is college. There is work required. They had better get used to it, right from the start.
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