Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Rude Awakening

I think some of my students are in for a rude awakening. In my Thursday evening class, five of my 15 students did not show. This was the last class session for that class before Spring Break and only one of the people contacted me. She actually was in touch with me before class to tell me she was very sick and had a doctor’s note telling her to stay home for the week to get better.

When the students come back from break, we will begin our next round of speeches. Half the class should speak the first week (the first session upon returning from break) and half should speak the following week. I gave my students who were in class a choice, asking them when they wanted to speak. Three of them wanted the first date and the remaining seven opted for the later date.

Having done this before, I know there is no way I want to sit through ten or more speeches in a given day. It is too exhausting on the students and it is too exhausting on the professor. In addition, the amount of time needed to type up a full detailed critique is great and I want to evenly distribute how many critiques I need to prepare each week.

I sent the four students who missed class and had not touched base with me an e-mail. The e-mail told them that I needed them to speak the first session we got back. In addition, I even included a note in the e-mail saying, “I hope you are checking this account during break, otherwise you are in for a rude awakening”. According to College policy, instructors must use the college e-mail address for students. Hopefully the students are checking the e-mail. Hopefully they actually have the syllabus and look at it (an electronic copy is also posted for their usage). I say hopefully but, honestly, I doubt that they are doing it.

Since 15 does not divide by two evenly, obviously one of the two days needs to have eight speakers and the other will have seven, (that statement is quite optimistic and indicates I actually expect everyone to be there and ready to speak on the day they picked or were assigned). As a result, the student who sent me an e-mail and appeared to have a valid reason for missing class, was given a choice. She can speak either day.

I truly wish students understood their responsibilities. I know I am going to get the sob stories and song and dance routines. It would be a lot easier to cut them some slack if they were in class, or touched base with me when they were not there, as the syllabus states and as I explained the first day of classes.