Thursday, May 04, 2017

Semester's end roadblock

So that student I figured was quietly accepting the F because of life-circumstances?

I came in this morning to an e-mail: "Hello, did you get the item I e-mailed you as an attachment?"

No. No, I did not.

And all of a sudden, like that, my peaceful schedule for the next couple days changes. Student wants to make up ALL THE THINGS. Student wants to meet with me (no suggestion as to WHEN) to hand those things in and also take the final and the last exam they missed.

It is mid-morning on Thursday. Grades are due on Tuesday. In fact, I have submitted grades for my other two classes already. I thought I'd get to submit for this one once the student that I allowed to take the exam a day late (they had a real and documented reason: an in-law died and they needed to help set up the funeral) finishes. (Student is taking the exam right now).

Tomorrow I planned to stay home. Sleep in, sew on quilts, take a day for myself. But that might change if this student can "only" come in tomorrow.

My biggest worry is that this student's e-mail connectivity/ability to send has been spotty: I was afraid they'd not get my e-mail and then, if I were forced to assign the F they have earned largely on the basis of no-work-handed-in, they would protest it and I'd be dragged into a grade change thing over the summer.

I raised the issue with my department chair, who very sensibly suggested I e-mail the student with the time concerns carefully described, and then CC her on it. I have done so. But I'm still concerned because this student has, shall we say, Harold Skimpole-like tendencies: Skimpole believed that the world exists to serve him, and that any problem he may have, other people can take care of it. So I was *extremely* careful in my e-mail to set a hard deadline that gave me enough time to grade the things, if they even come in.

But this is one of the things I find very, very frustrating about a few people I've dealt with in my life: that utterly carefree (or rather: care-less) tendency to expect that the world owes 'em a livin', and what's more, they are due having every mistake they make mopped up by the world. (the sort of situation over which I have muttered the radio-edit version of Radiohead's words: "You're so very special. I wish **I** was special.")

I don't know why people who act like that so rub me the wrong way; with other people who are having problems, I am happy to do things to alleviate their frustration or agony, even if it puts me out a bit. I suspect it is the sense of EXPECTATION in the Skimpole-types that annoys me: in the past, people who have had these kinds of issues, when I scrambled to fix things, didn't even seem to express gratitude, but rather, seemed to take it as their due.

I think there's also perhaps a bit of the "opposites don't always attract; in fact, they often repel" coming in to play, also. I have talked about how I always have to have plans. When I travel and have hotel reservations, I have a printout with the reservation code on it, a spare credit card (in case the one I used to make the reservation is declined), and a list of other hotels in the area in case the one I am booked at has lost my reservation and is full up (that has never happened). In short: I generally expect bad things to happen - either because of the random nature of the universe, or because someone somewhere was either incompetent or malicious. This sort of thing doesn't happen to me often, but it has happened enough, and at crucial times, that I am now gun-shy in the rest of my life. So I overplan, and I never count on anyone helping me if I'm in some kind of serious difficulty, but that I will be thrown onto my own resources.

And I've gotten used to doing that. And I've gotten used to putting obligations before pleasure - my comment about having to give up my day of sewing at home is an example; there have also been times where I left a serious plumbing issue or the like go longer than I might because I didn't want to cancel class (a dozen or so years ago, I went without heat in November for two weeks, partly because getting it fixed according to the schedule of my now-former furnace guy would have required the cancelling of class).

And so, even though I know it's uncharitable of me, I get annoyed with those people who airily seem to expect everyone will fix their mistakes, will adjust their schedules to work with them, will cut them infinite slack, etc., etc.

And yes, I know: I am being uncharitable; this is a person with problems in their life. But also, the lack of communication is maddening - it has been a week since I last heard from this person, when I told them "You need to do this, that, and the other" to complete your grade, and I also added, "If you don't think you can manage it, the other option is to accept an F and try again in another semester" and I assumed radio-silence meant "Yes, I will take that second option."

I have people who e-mail me if I go a whole 20 minutes without responding to their e-mail to ask me if I got their previous one, so it frustrates me to have people who go so long with no response. And yes, I get not everyone has e-mail at home: but this is someone I KNOW has a smartphone with a data plan, so....

I don't know. I get tired sometimes of putting myself out for other people and having some of those people come to expect that it's no effort for me, that OF COURSE I will change my plans to suit them because I don't matter. Argh.

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