Friday, May 04, 2012

Another Misplaced Disgruntled Attitude

I had an email confrontation with a student today. It started with her asking why she hadn't heard back from me regarding the possibility of taking the final exam. (This was one of my online students, who don't normally take a final but I thought about giving them the option to take one to possible improve their grade).

I sent feelers out at the end of March to see if there was enough interest to make this offer and she did reply as one of those who was interested in this possibility. Two weeks later, I had made the decision final, that I would offer students this chance and posted an announcement in our online class providing details of the offer and asking that all interested students should reply by April 23rd, using a specific subject line and that only properly sent emails sent by this date would be eligible and that I would reply with confirmations no later than April 25th.

I did as I said and sent confirmations on 4/25 and at no time, did I receive one of these emails from this student. Today , more than a week later, she sends me this inquiry wondering why she;s never received a confirmation. I tell her that she failed to reply to the announcement so I had no idea she had interest in the final and that she is no longer eligible to take the option.

The first line of her reply was the tipping point for me, "I am going to have to take this concern to the schools dean or an administration personnel because I don't understand why all this protocol is in order." When a student pulls this crap, that's the end of any possibility for me having any compassion. Here was my reply:

You’ve missed a considerable amount of work this semester, you simply neglected or chose not to submit it – this is the reason your grade may not meet your standards for “adequate”. My announcements were stated very clearly, clearly enough for every single other student in all of my sections to respond appropriately – you were the one who didn’t.

 If you wish to bring this to the dean, her name is NAME PROVIDED – I’ll save you a little time by copying her on this email. I have great respect for Dean NAME and if she hears your case and asks me to make an exception and allow you to take the final, I will. Keep in mind that I will present to her your complete history in this class and access to all of the announcements I’ve posted in Blackboard.

If you carefully read the syllabus back on day one of the class, you would recall that “all of this protocol” isn’t protocol at all, its class policy which you agreed to by remaining in the class after receiving the syllabus.

One last thing, it will be your responsibility to pursue a meeting with Dean NAME, please do not assume that this email and her inclusion implies that she will contact you.
 So as you can see, I chose to call her bluff. Which her reply proves that indeed, was a bluff:
Thank you for the information provided.
I beg to differ with many of the statements you have made in this email you kindly copied the dean. I know for a fact that the instruction have not been at all clear and that I personally had a side bar with you months prior about getting help. I was the first to reply that I would be on board with a final exam, the general message had to be for the other students because I had already stated what was going on with me.
This miscommunication is unfortunate and a waste on time that I already lack.
She begs to differ? I have solid evident that she failed to submit about 30% of the required assignments, I can't make that up. She did ask for help, I told her that the only "help" she needs is to actually submit the work. The work she has submitted was adequate enough to pass, it wasn't a matter of her submitting work but doing poorly on it.
Now, here is the real kicker with this moron. While she's a lazy student, despite her failing to submit all of her work, she is actually passing the course (albeit by as slim a margin as possible). I know for certain that there is almost know way that she could pass this final exam, no chance based on the work she's done and I would bet (and I am not a betting man) that were she to actually take the final, she would end up failing the course. She has all of this information available to her on our class site but she is so wrapped up in wanting to be right about something she is wrong about that she has no clue.
Final Note on this: I know I occasionally write about these ridiculous encounters with ridiculous students. Please know that I do also have fabulous students - some that even I learn from.

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