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, February 25, 2009

Anything Important Going On?

The semester is in full swing and there are a number of things which happen every semester that never cease to amaze me. One of my “favorite” occurrences happened the other day. A student missed class. I tell students that they can miss five classes for any reason but after that, it lowers their grade. (I suppose if someone could document that every single absences was excused I might consider making an exception but I am tired of students leaving early for sports games, or thinking that other happenings are more important than my class).

Anyway, back to this student who missed class. He sent me an e-mail explaining that he was sick and not up to coming to class, nor did he want to infect others (quite thoughtful). He asked me if he missed anything important.

This question infuriates me. Don’t my students know that we NEVER do anything important? What on earth could possible make him think he actually missed important, or possibly even, required material? I just show up for a paycheck! I never cover important material, I just come to class for my health!

A note to students: When we teach classes, any of us, we put time and effort into our lesson plan; we believe the material we are covering is important or we wouldn’t cover it. It is very frustrating to put energy into something only to have someone suggest that it might not be important. Don’t ask that question. In this case, it is okay to assume. Always assume that there is “important” information being covered.

The better question to ask is, “As you know I missed class, I really wasn’t feeling well. What do I need to make up the missed work and stay up to date with the rest of the class?”

Up next (Tomorrow): Students who never show up!