Thursday, May 10, 2018

And Thursday afternoon

Between yesterday evening and today, I have met (and perhaps exceeded) my quota of saying "no" to people for the month.

(The latest: someone who missed an exam, was absolutely incommunicado during that last week of classes, took the final, and then called up - AFTER I had posted grades - left a message asking to take the missed exam. I have a stated syllabus policy of "I need to know the day of the exam at the latest if you need a make-up" and yes, I did allow for some make-up exams BUT EVERY SINGLE PERSON ASKED BEFORE HAND AND HAD A REASON.

yes, this person was out sick but they could have called or have asked someone to call on their behalf. Or e-mailed or texted, seeing as it came from a cell phone. Whatever)

I called them back. I hate doing that because about 80% of the time when I tell someone "no" these days, I get a protest:

1. "It's not fair" (Oh honey. Life isn't fair. If life were fair I'd have a salary that kept pace with inflation)

2. "But you let this other person...." (Yes, but - they came to me in office hours and said "I have this really hairy exam in another class that's worth like 40% of my grade and it's on the same day as yours, is there any way I can take yours during your office hours the next day)

3. "You've ruined my life" (No, I did not cause you to violate the stated rules in the syllabus. I didn't skip or plagiarize or any of the other things that you did that lowered your grade)

4. "I'll go over your head on this" (That one gives me pause, I admit, after having had that student with their own pocket-administrator back in 2012, so I tend to cc my chair in on things that might be kind of sticky)

5. Tears (I am a reflexive crier so this one is bad)

6. Anger (I don't like anger; anger scares me. Confession: I am more likely to cave if someone is screaming at me. Don't tell my students that.)

7. Bargaining. "I'll do this if you..." (It makes me tired. Sometimes, maybe 1 time out of 10 someone tries this, they have a valid reason, but mostly not)

So anyway. I called up. Got voice mail. Left a message basically saying "No. It's in the syllabus why. I've already submitted grades. You didn't give me any advance warning and it is now too late."

The horrible thing is I'm expecting a call back with maybe bargaining. Yes, the guy this morning accepted when I said "No" but I've been trained by past interactions to treat that as the rare outcome.

But yeah. I am absolutely worn out. In retrospect, I probably should have saved the Whitesboro trip for FRIDAY, because I really need something restorative now - again, yes, this soon. It doesn't help that it's suddenly eleven billion degrees outside and they've turned the AC to a hotter temperature in the faculty side of the building, because hey, faculty can cope just fine with it being 85 in their offices.

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