Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Contemplative Cynic melts my cruel, frozen heart with a top 5 list

Beaker Ben held "grammar" hostage until we came up with new material to post. I am happy with having things up on the blog for longer than a day, but here is my contribution to getting our banner back to being spelled correctly... I channel our students as I craft a few reasons I cannot send new material in to my favorite blog:

5. Our school is on the quarter system. If this makes no sense to you, it makes no sense to me, either. This explanation to not get anything changed seems to work for our Administrators. Any time someone suggests doing something new, the response is, "Sorry, we're on the quarter system."

4. I have 17 of 50 essays left to grade by the end of today.Why did I promise to do this? So I could force myself to grade them. Their portfolios are due on Wednesday, so technically, I could wait until tomorrow at midnight to return essays because no one is going to start working on them until then. So this is the "something else is more important than you" excuse.

3. I have final exams to craft. It's my own fault for switching textbooks this year because I was bored with the last one. This is the "I was an idiot for doing this so I'm now going to use it as an excuse" excuse.

2. Our most diligent half-time employee just handed me her resignation letter. I have a week to find a replacement. This is a non-relevant excuse. Finding a replacement takes none of my time: I simply email HR to have them put out an announcement and that took all of 8 seconds. But in the world of student excuses, anything I have to do should be brought up as an excuse for why I cannot do something else.

1. I am beyond misery this week because I'm too tired to even remember where I parked. I have moved into the realm of abstract thought where I can smell consonants! Why is it that being tired is a legitimate excuse for students?

18 comments:

  1. Being tired is not a valid excuse for students. Anytime one tries it on me, I reply, "And how do you suppose a real boss in the real world will react to that?" I accompany it with my very best menacing tone and look.

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    1. Their response? "Oh, we'll know what to do when we have a job. We'll be getting paid for working then!"

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    2. I don't mean that *I* view being tired as a legitimate excuse; I mean that *they* do. :)

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    3. One snappy comeback to "we'll be getting paid for working then" is: NOT AFTER YOU GET FIRED, you won't!

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    4. I don't think that anyone who gave me that answer ever thought that there would be penalties for poor performance on the job. They probably believed that working life consists of constant do-overs along with rainbows and unicorns.

      None of the places I ever worked at were like that.

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    5. Except, Frod, no one seems to get fired any more. At least not for slacking. They get fired if they get someone crazy mad at them. That seems to make "Managers" in the "real world" suddenly want to manage. The world has changed.... and the snowflakes are starting to appear with increasing frequency in positions of authority/influence.

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    6. But they certainly do still get laid off, when the factory closes and the jobs are moved overseas.

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    7. So it makes sense to work when you're getting paid, but it doesn't make sense to work when you're paying tuition to learn something? Of course, the problem is that they very often aren't paying for the tuition. Their parents are.

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  2. Tired students...this is the ONLY time I pull out the mother card: "Oh really? YOU'RE tired? Were you up three times last night with a crying baby? Did you still have to turn in your book manuscript on time? Did YOUR four-year-old puke all over you this morning as you were trying to grade these papers? Huh, really?"

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    1. The thing is, a substantial minority of my students (including a few -- very few, but still some -- of the male students) could answer "yes" to all of the above except the book manuscript, and they may have been saving someone's life instead (as an EMT, or a R.N.). I've been known to tell a completely frazzled, stressed-out student to go get some sleep, and we'll figure out what to do about hir overdue work once that's accomplished.

      Of course, I also have more traditional (or simply more flaky) students who have 1,001 excuses for everything, including exhaustion.

      Still, I tend to be very much in the "everything looks better after a good night's sleep" camp -- which is probably one reason I don't always get my students work back to them as quickly as they, or more, relevant, I, think I should. On the other hand, if I'm a slow grader when fully rested, I'm an excruciatingly slow grader when exhausted.

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    2. I remember in a CAD class I was teaching, one of the students sat there looking bored and doing nothing. When I asked him why he was shiftless, his response was: "I'm having a bad day." Yeah, right. His definition of a "bad" day was simply an excuse to be work-shy.

      I had that group in another course and I remember that twerp was equally as troublesome in that one as well.

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    3. I have a "tired" student. He always shares with me and anyone who will listen how he has "only had three hours of sleep for the last three nights." He then lists all the things he has to do and how it is such a backbreaking load.

      His girlfriend has a student job in the department and was apparently lamenting to our secretary that, since they got the latest, greatest video gaming system in their apartment, he stays up most of the night playing games while she tries to get him to come to bed.

      Next time he is going on about being tired I want to say, "You need to tell your girlfriend to stop walking around the department telling the truth. She's not doing you any favors."

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    4. I would ask the student what his favorite video game is next time I saw him. :) Many of my students admit to spending 6 hours or more a night (one a week night) on gaming. I wonder at what point they require intervention.

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  3. The above said, #1 sounds very familiar to me, especially the losing-the-car part. That's one of my most reliable indicators that it's time to take a rest (and arriving on campus so much later than usual that I can't get rid of the car is also a pretty good indicator that it's time to stop pulling nearly-all-nighters, which I increasingly find cost me more time over the following days than I gain).

    #3 also rings a bell. Curricular innovation sounds like a much better idea the end of a semester followed by a substantial break, or even at the beginning of a new semester, than it does in the middle-end of the semester during which one is trying to juggle the new tasks created by said curricular innovation with all one's regular work, which, as one should have remembered, already takes up more than the available time.

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  4. And herein lies the difference between us and them: we actually get the work done, despite the challenges!

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    1. That's because when we were younger, we were expected to earn our rewards and not have them automatically handed to us simply for showing up. Nowadays, I suppose, working for those rewards might damage someone's self-esteem.

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    2. We even show up when we have the sniffles, unlike many snowflakes.

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