So, after going over my "WHAARRRGARRBLLL NO LATE PAPERS" spiel on the first day of class, my first paper is due today in my non majors class.
And what do I come in to this morning? But an e-mail from a student informing me of a death in his family, that he will be handing the paper in late because he has other priorities in his life right now.
And I get that. But: I've had other students with emergencies who e-mailed me their papers. This is why I give people a week! So you can start on stuff early in case something comes up.
So now, I'm in the unenviable position of either looking like an ogre (if I e-mail back and say "Sorry, I have a 'no late work' policy") or I once again open the door to be deluged with requests for people to hand papers in late.
I suppose because I'm a people-pleaser, I'll let him hand it in late, but every semester I say I'm going to get tougher on that, and I never do.
I guess what I need to do is go through the whole mess of handing out "hand something in late, no questions asked" coupons like someone else I know does - where every student gets one "free pass" to hand stuff in late, no questions asked - but the catch is that if they use that for a frivolous reason and a serious reason comes up, they're out of luck. I've resisted doing that because of the thought of people forging coupons or selling them to friends or some such (though I suppose I could make a check off in my gradebook for it).
This kind of thing just makes me tired. I need for stuff to go smoothly for a while but it just won't.
ETA, again: I e-mailed the person back and told him that I "normally" did not accept late work, but in this case would accept the paper but it needed to be in as soon as humanly possible.
I think I'm especially gunshy on bending the rules because if I do it for "compassionate" reasons, then there are people who believe the rules should be bent for them, even when it's not a "compassionate" reason. I once had a student contest my "no laptops" policy because I was allowing a Blind student to use a laptop. Because he could touch-type the things I was saying, and the laptop would read them back to him later. I had another student come in and complain to me that "Why does Jay get to use a laptop and I don't?" I looked at her for a moment and said, quietly, "Have you looked closely at Jay?" and she said, "Well, yeah, he's blind" but the penny didn't drop even then.
I've also had people challenge me for giving "excused" absences for illness or funeral attendance, when they want an "excused" absence so they can go wait in line for something (like the new iPhone) or so they can skip an early morning class after going to a midnight premier of a movie. That kind of thing wears me out, because there are SO MANY THINGS I have wanted to do that I have not done because duty called.
I also have to admit: I bent the rules this time, with the thought that "maybe sometime in the future when I need a little compassionate consideration, I'll get it" but I also note that the bitter little coal burning in my hearts says, "You know you probably WON'T."
ETA: Someone else sent me their paper via e-mail because they can't get to a printer. Well, I looked it over and this is my reaction:
Yup. I think this is going to be one of those weeks. (I really, really harped on the citation thing in class.)