Friday, March 30, 2012

Sometimes, you do the right thing.

I had a student call me up earlier this week. This is someone who has ALWAYS been in class, who has ALWAYS been engaged and responsible.

He said, sounding shaken: "My dad's in the hospital. They don't quite know what's wrong but they're talking about putting a pacemaker in. I don't know when they're taking him back for examination...I might not make it to class today."

I told him it was important that he be with his dad, that there was nothing happening in class that was more important than what he was doing now, and that he could get the handout I was giving either off the class website, or he could pick it up from me during office hours.

He stopped by to get the handout yesterday. And he thanked me profusely for being understanding of the situation. He said that his dad was better, apparently it's a problem that medication can control, so they're trying that first. I smiled and told him I had had family members with health problems (one year I raced up home in a hurry because a stress test showed a "blockage" on my dad and they were worried that he might need surgery - he did not, but I was grateful that I was able to be there). He said, "No, you don't understand: some of the professors were telling me, 'No, you need to be in class.'"

I don't know. I've had people ask for excused absences so they could wait in line to buy freaking movie tickets for a movie that was opening, or so they could drive 300 miles to see some band they liked play. I figure that a person's dad maybe going in for heart surgery is a valid reason for them to miss class.

I just told him he was welcome. But I felt good that he appreciated  my willingness to let him miss. It made me feel like I had maybe made one right decision this week.

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