Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Semester - Round 1

It seems that at least once per semester when I call out the students who are basically non-existent, one of them will chime in with an "interesting" tale or interpretation of the rules. Here's one from a few days ago:

It started with me posting this announcement in our online classroom and emailing it to every student in the class:
  • Remember there is an attendance requirement for this course; you must log into our course site at least twice per week (from Tues. through Mon.) - if you fail to do this more than twice during the semester, you may be withdrawn from the course without warning or receive a grade of "F".
  • If you've intentionally abandoned the course but have at some time entered the class site through Blackboard, even once, you must properly drop the class through the office of the registrar or via PeopleSoft. If you remain on the roster past the final withdrawal date, you will receive a grade of "F" for the course which will adversely affect your grade point average.
Here the response I received from STUDENT (unedited):
is there any way that i can not be removed from this course? i really need it and i did not intentionally abandon the course. i understand that excuses are not tolerated in this class but i have been doing the reading and it was my home internet that went down. i was unable to log on  to do the coursework. 
      my home internet is now working and if there is any way that i can fix this problem i need to know. if i remove this class from my course list i will have to withdraw from school altogether due to the fact i will no longer be enrolled half time and will not qualify for financial aid. i understand your policies but i need very much to remain in this class. I will do anything to be able to remain on the roster. please allow me to finish the course.

To which I replied:
STUDENT,
You've shown zero interest in being an active student in this class. In only one of the first 5 weeks did you abide by the attendance policy, you missed 2 of the first 4 quizzes and missed 2 of the first 3 Word assignments and had virtually no participation in the discussion board.

You should have thought more about the effect being dropped might have on your financial aid beforehand, if you were truly having issues that hindered your work, there are ways around them but you neglected to even mention them until after the fact.

I'm very sorry to say that you were already dropped from the course, last week and I will not consider reinstating you.
 
ME

Yielding another email from STUDENT:
Professor, 
     I do not mean to argue with you at all but your policies seemed to me to be very strict in outlining that no excuses would be tolerated. because of that fact, any problems that i have had in this class i have done my best to rectify on my own without bothering you. i honestly have done the reading and understand the material as well as the proper way to use the software and applications outlined in the course. I very much do wish to be an active member in the class and in the online discussions and i have been trying hard to be in the class. although i have not done many of the assignments, it is only do to the fact that i have not had the ability to pass them in on time. and the times that i have done them it was because i have either walked from Marlborough to Framingham in order to do them, or done them from another campus. 
     if there is no way to reinstate me to the class i apologize for taking up your time but i really do believe that I have been keeping up with the class and actively attaining as well as utilizing the information that is available through the text. 
     please believe me that i have been keenly aware of the effect that this would have on my academic and financial standing since the day i signed up to the class. in fact, on that day i sent you an e-mail to see what i could do to rectify my late start and be an active member of the class. You replied to me that i should not have joined late and that i should seek to drop the course. because of that, i have done my best to refrain from bothering you at all with any personal problems i have encountered. however, it is unfathomably important to me that I stay enrolled in this school for the remainder of the semester. i implore you to give me but one more chance if it is at all possible. 
     Thank you, 
               STUDENT.

And yet another reply from ME:
ME,

I've been teaching for a long time, at the core, all I ask is that you show up for class and do the work, now if that's strict, then yes, I'm strict but quite frankly, that isn't strict at all, it's what every teacher should demand.

I have other students who've had challenges and they worked them out and got the work done because they were motivated. The bottom line is you've not gotten the work done, not showed up and not even communicated to me that you had issues until it was aft the fact.

I wish you the best, but I will not reinstate you.

C. Daniele

Leading to a final email from STUDENT:
Professor Daniele, 
     I appreciate the time you have dedicated to my case and i appreciate that you wish me well. i did not mean to negatively characterize your pedagogical ideals at all and i am sorry if the way i addressed you seemed to do so. i simply meant that i feel your policies are objective and therefore i did not believe that an explanation of my absence or elaboration of my personal difficulties would get me anywhere. due to the fact that i was certain of this, i simply tried to work out my problems on my own until i encountered a problem i could not.  I apologize for wasting your time.
     thank you again, 
              STUDENT.

As a teacher, I read between the lines on this interaction very easily, I have a very clear picture of that the student attempted to accomplish, realize they could not and then realize that I had them figured out. I'll leave it to you, if you choose, to interpret - it'll be like a blog game - enjoy.

3 comments:

radioactive girl said...

I can't imagine having to deal with people like this. I mean it's one thing to have issues come up, but then a person needs to be responsible enough to contact the teacher right away and also realize that sometimes you just have to drop the class even if the circustances are out of your control. I know that when I have surgery I am fully prepared to have to drop the classes I am taking even though it would make me really sad. I am pretty sure I can hold off until I would be able to either take a quick break or just try to finish the semester early but that's the thing, I am thinking ahead and making sure that my issues don't become my teacher's issues. I can't imagine slacking from the beginning and then expecting the teacher to just be ok with that and let me jump in when I hadn't done all the work. That just isn't fair!

Chris said...

Tori, your thoughts on this are important to me. And, I carefully think about some of your situations, how you've dealt with them, and how I might handle them as your teacher.

It's all an often difficult challenge to balance the responsibilities as a teacher, be compassionate, fair and knowing there are some trying to play you.

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