Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How to really annoy your professor...

Typical Crazy Student Behavior
"Hey, prof, got a psych test,
so I can't make your midterm."
(Image from Wikipedia)

Early this morning -- early because I rise early, but what if had I risen late? -- I received this email from some student:
Apologies for the sudden news, but LST students cannot make it to your writing tut class tomorrow (23 April) due to a sudden time shift in the Chemistry exam. If you have any queries, please contact the Chemistry professor, or any of the other LST students.
This morning, of course, is the morning of April 23rd. Annoyed, I retorted:
I have 125 students and teach at two universities.

I do not know what an LST student is, nor do I know which course of mine you are referring to, nor do I know which university you are talking about, nor why I am finding out this information on April 23rd, nor why a chemistry professor has the right to schedule a midterm during my own midterm time.

Please clarify.
I've since figured out the class referred to by the student through reflecting upon the student's reference to my "writing tut class."

Initially, this was a baffling reference because I'm teaching five courses in which I emphasize writing, three of which are officially writing courses, and I have four classes on Wednesdays, including these three official writing courses.

And what the hell was a 'tut' class, I wondered. Perhaps 'tut' as in: "Tut, tut, class. Now pay attention."

Or was this some archaeology student who had mistakenly informed me that 'my' LST students cannot attend 'my' putative lecture on King Tut's Tomb?

Eventually, I realized that "tut" was the student's abbreviation for "tutorial."

That clarifies everything . . . except why a chemistry professor can reschedule a midterm exam at the expense of another class that could, conceivably, be having a midterm exam, so I've inquired about this at the college that set up my writing course.

One expects a modicum of professional courtesy.

Update: The student was not being entirely forthright about the chemistry exam, which had, in fact, not been rescheduled at the time of my class but merely at the end of my class . . . hence providing me a teachable moment.

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At 5:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you for standing up for yourself. It sounds like the chemistry professor rescheduled his own exam, probably not coincidentally at the same time as a foreign faculty member's. Mr. Thick Face (what we call "brazen-faced") would not dare pull this stunt on another member of the academic panthenon. My midterm exam period was shortened at Korea University when a professor stalled and wouldn't vacate the room. Older male professor outranks younger foreign female instructor.


At 5:53 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I doubt that I'll get anywhere with this on such short notice, but the college that set up my course ought to have an interest in professionalism and its own reputation, so the dean ought to inquire what this chemistry professor was thinking about in rescheduling his exam.

This assumes, of course, that the chemistry professor actually has done this. Possibly, the students themselves are pulling a stunt to give themselves more study time.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:20 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

Ah, professor, just what I was thinking, the American equivalent to calling in a bomb scare! I personally would rather take a writing exam in place of chemistry. Unless, of course, the professor had risen, just like bread, on the early side of the bed!

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Does the early side of the bed face east? That would be to orient oneself rightly . . . if I'm allowed such a choice of words in my circumstances.

But does bread rise to the east? Or have I made my bread and now have to lie in it?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't lie in your bread unless you intend to loaf.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Good pun, and I think that the student did intend to loaf off . . . about my class, anyway.

Actually, as I've since learned, the student was lying (i.e., "with forked tongue") and probably just needed more time to study for the chemistry test. The chemistry professor did NOT reschedule his test.

The student has been contacted and set straight about honesty -- and will be set even straighter in about 40 minutes...

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Sperwer said...

"One expects a modicum of professional courtesy."

One, of course, should demand it, but "expect" it -- in Korea? Not unless you're a higher ranking "thick-face" as another of your commenters labelled the species.

At 8:02 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You're right, of course, Sperwer. I had even asked the college to call the offending students, but the staff demurred.

My wife acknowledged that a Korean professor would not have been denied satisfaction.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Learning S*** Together"

Heard that once in some dorm room. It wasn't in the ROK.


At 4:02 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Time for some unlearning.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 4:49 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

I really laughed over this one. My dad's a college prof and he would be in complete agreement with you.

At 4:53 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Students can be inadvertently amusing.

What does your father teach?

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't say I learned it, said I heard it.

I took to heart an admonition to "un"-learn from someone else long ago. I didn't get credit hours for it. But it was as good as a PhD.


At 8:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I was referring to the expression:

"Learning S*** Together"

. . . as applied to my students' misbehavior.

As for myself, I've spent the past 13 years unlearning a lot of my education . . . and it's proven better than a PhD.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I can see where I got neglectful. I'm not going back to read your exact phrasing but I seem to remember you asked something like, "what does LST stand for?"

I remember in that case we were involved in keeping fresh beer and debate as to how we were going to frame our response.

I seem to recall I won enough to get a half tank of petrol but only got a C on the project.

Just thinking that with an "Internationally Respected Professor" agreeing with my point that... well.


At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, one other thing. You promised not to post any pictures of me on your blog. That hat is obviously "Photoshopped" to the discerning eye.

I admit to akimboed arms. But I had poison ivy.


At 10:28 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Actually, that's a portrait of the artist Ezra Pound as a young man -- photoshopped by his poet-lover, Ms. Doolittle.

Jeffery Hodges

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