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fall break and other distractions


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What's with the ads?

#1 jdahlquist

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 10:59 AM

I just got an email from a student in my college class that started: 

 

I apologize for the late notice but I just wanted to apologize for missing class yesterday. To put it nicely and without too much detail, I found out (after traveling with him over fall break) that my dog has travel anxiety.

 

I never missed class as a student.  Then again, we didn't get a fall break.  We were required to live on campus and could not have pets.  Therefore, we were never faced with these type of situations.  

 



#2 regentrude

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 11:06 AM

LOL! this is one of the more creative apologies :)


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#3 jdahlquist

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 01:39 PM

Yes,  I very much wanted to reply, "Will you tell your employer this next year?" 

 


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#4 Miss Mousie

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 02:27 PM

I would love to know if the student comes to the next class meeting with a veterinarian's note supporting an excused absence.

 


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#5 OrganicJen

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 03:06 PM

Lol

#6 FaithManor

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 07:26 PM

Okay then.

Amusing at least!

#7 MerryAtHope

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 08:59 PM

I was thinking, at least he sent you a notice (albeit late and...interesting!)

 

 


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#8 hopskipjump

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 01:08 AM

How... strange? What would a dog's travel anxiety while traveling have to do with missing a class once one is, I would assume, back on campus after fall break?

 

:laugh:


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#9 creekland

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 04:41 AM

I'd have fully expected something like that... in a stand up comedy routine.

 

IRL it boggles my mind, and like you, I wonder if that student would find it an acceptable reason to call in sick from a job as well.


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#10 Acorn

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 06:06 AM

Vomiting and diarrhea are not easy or fun to deal with, especially from an animal. It could take days to clean the carpets.

Leaving the dog alone after an illness might cause more troubles.


And, yes if I had an ill pet I might need to miss work.
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#11 jdahlquist

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:15 PM

Unfortunately for the student, it means that she was late submitting an assignment which is 7% of her overall class grade and will now face a substantial penalty on the assignment.  



#12 Kinsa

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:22 PM

I used to skip class all the time. Back then no one cared as long as your assignments were turned in on time and you took the exams. Attendance wasn't a requirement as it is nowadays.

Edited by Kinsa, 20 October 2017 - 10:23 PM.

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#13 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:51 PM

I used to skip class all the time. Back then no one cared as long as your assignments were turned in on time and you took the exams. Attendance wasn't a requirement as it is nowadays.

Yep.  That was a bit of a shock for me since in High School they very much cared.  LOL

 

Actually, the most shocking moment was when I realized that it really was up to me to make it in the classes and whether I failed or succeeded the school would go on, the teachers would go on, regardless.  They might care but I wasn't there for them, I was there for me.  I remember the moment it crystallized for me, too.

 

I was deathly ill one semester (hospitalized and then sent home to my parents) and I tried getting notification to all my college professors that I would be missing at least a week of school.  One of them (my favorite one in fact) seemed genuinely puzzled as to why I had called.  His response: 

 

1. Was I planning on getting notes from a classmate? Yes. Great. 

2.  Was I feeling better and expected to recover?  Yes. Great. 

3.  Have I ever failed to turn in an assignment?  No.  Great. 

4.  So why are you telling me you are going to miss class?  I figure you show up, you gain knowledge.  You fail to show up, then it is up to you to seek out the knowledge you missed.  Its up to you whether you make the effort to learn anything in my class or not.  You don't want to be there, then don't come.  You CAN'T be there, then o.k. just make up the missing work.  I don't need a phone call unless you are not coming back or you have a question.                             

 

Oh....uh...o.k.  Sorry to have bothered you, sir.  :blink:

 

I was seriously in shock that a professor just really had put it all on me.  My responsibility.  I was not there to please him.  He would continue to do his job whether I showed up or not, whether I made up the missing work or not.  It was actually a pretty pivotal moment.  It made me actually MORE responsible for getting assignments in, etc., because it finally hit me that I wasn't in college for my parents or my teachers, I was there for me and it was up to me to succeed or fail and it would be my future I was impacting, not theirs.  I'm sure if someone had asked me in High School I would have said those words and thought I understood them.  I honestly didn't though.  I had not really, truly internalized it until that moment.  


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#14 GoodGrief

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 11:09 PM

My mouth fell open at that excuse! Did not see that one coming :lol:

 

That said, I was definitely a class skipper. There were two semesters of chemistry where I attended only for labs and tests. :huh: And still got an A. I do not share this with my kids though, who were/are faithful class attendees. Their profs do seem much more aware of who is there though than mine did.


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#15 MerryAtHope

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 12:14 AM

LOL, shhh, don't tell my kids that I skipped some classes too!

 

I did have some classes that required attendance and allowed no more than 3 misses. I always found that kind of stressful! Odd since I hadn't ever skipped in high school (it was so taboo!)



#16 J-rap

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 04:01 AM

It surprised me when I learned that my dd took attendance so seriously, and that she had to email her teacher with a reason if she missed (which she rarely did/does).

 

When I was in college, I don't even know if attendance was taken.  It was up to us to turn in all assignments, do well on tests, etc., but whether we attended class or not was not the teacher's concern.  (Unless of course that meant that we missed a project, etc., but it was up to us to know.)



#17 creekland

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 09:30 AM

Unfortunately for the student, it means that she was late submitting an assignment which is 7% of her overall class grade and will now face a substantial penalty on the assignment.  

 

Choices come with consequences.  Many of us have our animal friends and still manage to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done even if they are sick or "anxious."


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#18 jdahlquist

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 01:17 PM

Email has really changed the amount of information that students send me about missing classes.  When I first started teaching they would have had to look up my phone number, call, and leave a message with the departmental secretary if I was not in (we didn't even have voice mail).  Or, they would have to come by and talk to me personally.

 

Especially in some disciplines, there has been an increased emphasis placed on teamwork, presentations, and other skills that make class attendance more necessary.  I taught at one college where a large number of students could not effectively read a textbook, and faculty were being fired if more than 20% of their students withdrew from the class or received an F or D in the class; when the students' passing the class becomes the faculty member's responsibility rather than the student's responsibility, faculty start trying to make sure that students are in class.  (I am not sure that is best for the student's long-run education--I think they used to learn some good time management skills and were responsible for their own behavior.)

 



#19 creekland

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 05:44 PM

I taught at one college where a large number of students could not effectively read a textbook, and faculty were being fired if more than 20% of their students withdrew from the class or received an F or D in the class;

 

And some wonder how/why college students are graduating with less knowledge than in the old days... and poor work habits.

 

Professors can't work miracles.

 

Failure has to be an option to have any credibility at all (in most cases anyway).

 

This is similar to high school now too.  "It's the teacher's fault if students fail!"  No, it generally isn't.  Maybe sometimes, but not overall.


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#20 JennyD

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 02:40 PM

I teach in a graduate program and both the university and the accrediting entity require us to have an attendance policy that appears in the syllabus.  i therefore write "Attendance policy:  Students are expected to come to class."

 

Then, the first day of class I announce:  "I am required to have an attendance policy.  My attendance policy is that you should come to class.  The end-of-course exam is based on what we discuss in class.  However, you are all adults, and this is graduate school.   The only thing that I ask is that if you do not come to class, please do NOT email me to tell me about it."  

 

Astoundingly, they still email me to tell me why they are missing class.  I just don't understand it.  


Edited by JennyD, 22 October 2017 - 02:41 PM.


#21 regentrude

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 03:13 PM

As an instructor, I actually appreciate when students email me to keep me informed (for class sizes below 100). Just because they are responsible for their learning does not mean I don't care what is going on in their lives. Yes, I want to know who is out with mono, who is caring for a dying grandmother, who is juggling multiple jobs. It does not make me change my performance standards, but it helps me recognize who may need extra encouragement or extra help. 

 

Often, students feel it is a sign of respect to send an email with their excuse. I email my choir director when I cannot make the rehearsal, out of courtesy, even though there is no attendance policy, and I am responsible for learning the music. It is part of having a human relationship.


Edited by regentrude, 22 October 2017 - 03:13 PM.

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#22 jdahlquist

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 07:30 PM

I, too, like to have a human relationship with my students.  I have often found it helpful when they have notified me of things that are causing them to be absent or struggle in the class.  At times it has been useful to know when to suggest to a student that they consider retaking the class another semester or taking an incomplete in the class.  

 

What isn't very helpful is when a student sends an email "Just wanted to let you know that I am missing class today because I have a really big exam in a class tonight that I need to study for.  Let me know if we were doing anything important in class today.  I don't want you to think your class isn't important to me."


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#23 creekland

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 07:35 PM

What isn't very helpful is when a student sends an email "Just wanted to let you know that I am missing class today because I have a really big exam in a class tonight that I need to study for.  Let me know if we were doing anything important in class today.  I don't want you to think your class isn't important to me."

 

I guess you need to respond to those with, "Well, as you know, most days I try to cover only menial things..."   :lol:

 

Even in high school I always ask students why they were out a previous day (or more).  It's definitely part of getting to know the kids, usually a fun part, but if they were very sick or attending a funeral or something, it helps to know and adjust accordingly.


Edited by creekland, 22 October 2017 - 07:35 PM.

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#24 regentrude

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 07:41 PM

What isn't very helpful is when a student sends an email "Just wanted to let you know that I am missing class today because I have a really big exam in a class tonight that I need to study for.  Let me know if we were doing anything important in class today.  I don't want you to think your class isn't important to me."

 

arrgh. Because, normally, you don't do anything important, right?



#25 JennyD

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 10:25 PM

 

 

Often, students feel it is a sign of respect to send an email with their excuse. 

 

I know that a lot of them think this, which is precisely why I make a point of telling them on the first day that they do NOT need to email me.  

 

I like my students a lot and really enjoy getting to know them, but I also think that it's important that they understand that this isn't a system of "excused"and "unexcused" absences.  

 

I do reach out to students who seem to be missing a lot to find out what's going on.