Sunday, April 13, 2008


As the semester draws to a close, I stand at the brink of that horrific time of the year when students begin to realize they are about the face the grade music for the work they didn't do. I get an amazing array of excuses, pleas, and prayers about this problem every year. Sometimes people get creative, but then, usually if they have the wherewithall to get creative, they've done the work in the first place. And this isn't just a "those damn kids" issue. I teach at community colleges- I have all ages and stages in there.

As a note, many of my students have their grades- often on a weekly basis- throughout the semester. My syllabus includes the formula I use to calculate their final grade, and it is extremely simple- each test is worth 25%, participation in class is 25%, and then either a paper or a set of weekly quizzes is 25% (I stopped doing it with appropriate weights and things because too many students complained they couldn't work the equation.) So at any moment, they can calculate "how they are doing."

Just in case some poor student of mine stumbles across this blog after googling me, sees some excuse they gave, and starts getting all "she's doggin' me!" about it, please note that the semester does not actually end for another three weeks. This entry is anticipatory, based on past experience. If you use one of these excuses, I can only assure you that I do not possess a time machine, and so cannot go back in time to rag you about your given excuse or plea before you provide said excuse or plea. And at this point, you have not emailed me about why you absolutely must get that "C" or "B" or "A".

So here is my totally snarky responses to common excuses and pleas that appear on my voice mail and in my email boxes after the semester is already closed. I have no intention of actually responding to any students with these retorts. They just tend to bounce around and cause me a lot of sleepless nights after the semester closes.

Remember to read the excuses with a properly comedic whiny tone, or it loses its effect.

I need a grade of X to get off of academic probation, or they'll kick me out of school! If school is so important to you, why didn't you bother to complete your work and study for your exams? (Now, after your final exam is turned in, ain't the time to make an appointment for tutoring, sweetie.)

But I get A's in all the rest of my classes! Obviously not in math. Or are you suggesting your other professors do not expect you to complete your reading and assignments, complete them with at least 60% of the answers correct, and complete them on time?

I got sick/pregnant/in an accident/lost a relative during the last two weeks of the semester, cut me a break! Where were you the rest of the semester? {Folks who have real problems during the last two weeks can apply for an "incomplete" IF they were not already failing the class}

I couldn't get time from work/my work schedule got too hectic! Welcome to the real world. You're taking a class. You have to complete the coursework to get credit for it. Were you too busy to drop me an email when your schedule got posted?

And of course, with online classes, there is the ever-popular: I lost my innernets! Go to the library.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

1 comment:

Stimey said...

This would drive me crazy.