Thursday, March 15, 2018

I'm so done

I did one of those things just now that professors sometimes have to do, but that makes me feel sick to my stomach.

I just had to report a difficult student for bad behavior.

Without giving too much detail: this is someone who chronically skips class. They e-mail me claiming they have documentation as to WHY, but I have never seen any (in one or two cases, they said they lost it). This is someone who is repeating the class in part because they had poor attendance, didn't do the work, and did poorly in lab last time. They are skipping lab now - in fact, they told me they thought they didn't need to go because "I still have all the lab assignments from last time." They come to class, sit for fifteen minutes, and leave.

The parts that make me slightly sick are two:

a. It's possible they have some kind of medical or disability issue, but I am not a mind reader. They have not gone to any of the offices (there are two on campus that can help) that assist with this. I made a big fat hairy deal on the first day of class (for which I believe they were present) that if they had ANY problems, they needed to work through these offices, I could not give special treatment or accommodations without documentation. But I have a sinking feeling it will come out they have an Issue and I will somehow be painted as the bad guy.

b. This is someone who has got upset with me before - it was one of those truly trivial things - on the attendance- reporting (unofficial) I am required to do, I had them down for one absence more than they had at that point and they came and griped at me. And they griped at me for saying they had "poor attendance" (they come to the first 10-15 minutes of class and then leave. In my book, that is non-attendance. Especially since they are dinking on their cell phone the whole time.)

I do have the benefit of my chair knowing (and I e-mailed her about making the report, just in case the student comes in to grieve at her about me) and she backs me up but:

they don't pay me enough for this.
they really don't.

this is someone who, if they act like this in all their classes, should not be in college. They need to take a couple years, GROW UP a little, straighten out whatever life issues they have, and then come back.

I don't know. When I was a student, someone pulling these stunts would have been told to leave campus. Yes, I know: I came from a more privileged background and I went to a college where the expectations were different (and also, they had a huge endowment and were operating in an era of higher state budgets, so they didn't have to scrabble for every dollar of tuition) but it does wear me out a lot how faculty's well-being is sometimes seen as of less importance than that of the students. (The whole "why don't you just" brigade, where the follow up is "come back in the evening and hold nighttime office hours" or "just let people come in and take exams whenever instead of having a set time for them" or "have yourself videotaped giving your lecture and post it on the CMS page" or "offer lots of extra credit work" (If someone won't do the regular work, why should I write and grade extra assignments for them?)

I dunno. Ninety-five percent of my students are fine-to-great, but there are those few who just....they suck all the air out of the room and I know I have less energy for the students who are NOT difficult. (This happens in public schools, too: the kids who are tractable/who work independently get ignored because the troublemakers take all the time/energy of the teacher, and it's not fair to the well-behaved students)

But yeah. Debating swinging by the Braum's and getting a milkshake because I don't drink alcohol but I need SOMETHING right now.

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