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.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What Was Said, And What Was Not

I received an e-mail from a student telling me that he will not be able to make it to my class for quite some time. His car was totaled in an accident. He commutes a bit of a distance to campus. There is no public transportation from where he lives to class and his mother is holding him responsible for the car accident, even though it was not his fault, so says the student. He did offer to show me pictures of the car to prove it was totaled.

A little later in the day I received an e-mail from the Dean of student affairs. It was sent to me and his other teachers. The e-mail from the dean indicated that this student was having trouble getting to campus due to car issues and he would be in touch with us to find out how he should proceed and how he could make up the work.

I am willing to bet the student thinks that is exactly what he did; that he is in the clear now and does not have to worry about missing classes.

I feel bad for this student, I really do. But note what he did, and did not do, in the e-mail. He indicates that he can’t make it to class. Nowhere does he ask about how he can make up the work, what we, the instructors, want and need him to do, and how he can keep up with the material covered in class.

He thinks by sending out an e-mail saying he has no car, that everything is fine. If this were a job and he had no car, would the place of employment say, as long as you told me about it, do not worry how long it takes? Most likely he would need to make arrangements.

I used to send this type of response out to students but it did not make a difference and they never understood anyway. Besides, it is there responsibility to make the offer.

Hopefully everything will turn out well for the student but in the meantime, he is missing classes and he is missing speeches that need to be given.