Tuesday, December 01, 2009

No more Ms. Nice Lady?

I don't know. I'm wondering if maybe being tougher than I was in the past is a good way to be. Two separate incidents:

Guy comes into my office. Guy is a decent student but is partying a wee bit hard this fall (I teach an early Friday class and many weeks he's come in looking really painfully hung over). Guy asks, "Are we doing anything in class tomorrow?" (I wish the students know how much the profs hate that question).

Because he is in what I have dubbed the "class full of whiners," where people have skipped on important days and then come back to complain at me because, apparently, I didn't cancel class simply because they were absent, something in me snapped a little bit.

"Yes, we are. I am covering something that is not really covered in the textbook that will be on the final exam. You will have a hard time with that section of the final if you skip."

(And I know for a fact that not enough people in that class take decent notes that he could even get notes off of someone).

And he was there. And apparently not hung over for once.

Then, another student came in: he had done poorly on a short paper assignment, mainly because he failed to follow the instructions that I had GIVEN THEM ON A HANDOUT **AND** POSTED ON THE COURSE WEBSITE.

He wanted to know if he could redo the paper for better credit.

As I was, at the moment, trying frantically to grade papers for yet another class, I looked at him and said, "No. You had the instructions. You have one more paper to do for the class; do this one following the instructions. I do not have time to do re-grades or extra credit work."

And amazingly, in both cases, the students accepted. They didn't fuss, they didn't try to argue me down (as some people have in the past). I have a friend who told me that one of the perks, she found, of getting into your 40s was "people start to actually take you seriously." So maybe that's happening.

But I do need to be tougher. Partly for my own sanity, but also partly because these "kids" need to learn to grow up a little - to take responsibility for the first time, to know that life isn't always going to hand you a mulligan when you don't do things right the first time.


nightfly said...

You are my new hero.

The best college professor I ever had, the late Richard Wasson, would NOT tolerate shenanigans. He publicly dressed my down for something I tried to pull. I finished his English lit class with the best B I ever pulled. It wasn't fun and, honestly, I still smart a little bit from the memory of what he said to me that day - but it's not because he was sooooo meaaaannnnn, but because I deserved it.

I'd still be a writer but he's the one who made me care about the craft of it, of working at it, rather than just letting the words fall out of me without forethought or revision.

Mr. Bingley said...

dang, gal, go buy yourself a lottery ticket; you are on an unbelievable run of luck!

WV: "adolarri" The luxurious new model from Ferrari