I’m late again with my post. But I have an appropriate excuse. I was delayed by this week’s Time Vampire!
It’s that season again. No, not the holidays. When and academic says, “’Tis the season” it generally refers to that final end of semester crunch. That time when we’re inundated with grading as well as our own work and our students suddenly realize that slacking off all semester is going to have consequences. My students’ final projects were due this week, which meant that I was bombarded by emails all week asking desperate questions.
I honestly wouldn’t mind that much. Yes, it takes time, but that’s my job. And I’m happy they’re asking questions rather than wondering in silence (as my students tend to do because apparently I’m scary). What bothers me is that a huge chunk of the questions have already been answered. On the assignment sheet itself, in an explanation I gave in class, via an email announcement. Often all three. Apparently these kids think I print out two page assignment sheets because I like killing trees. C’mon, even I don’t hate nature that much. But they don’t read the assignments. It doesn’t occur to them they should read the assignments. A couple weeks ago a student questioned a policy on something and I told her it was explained on the syllabus. She looked at my blankly and asked, “What syllabus?” When I reminded her of the syllabus we handed out at the beginning of the semester she looked at me like I was insane and said, “Oh… I didn’t keep that.”
So yes, my week was filled with emails essentially saying, “Hey, can you explain that thing that you already explained twice in class and sent out an email about? Because I’m a special snowflake who was super busy texting when you went over it before.”
I also have been getting a lot of emails about attendance records which essentially say, “Hey, I was thinking of skipping class tomorrow—will that affect my grade?”
Then there are the ones that tell me they were only halfway paying attention because they heard something I very definitely did not say. For example, I told my students that if they used photos in their final papers it wouldn’t count towards page count. Because in a previous assignment several of them printed full page photos and counted that as a page of their paper. I received an email on Wednesday night saying, “Hey, I know you said we couldn’t use pictures, but I can’t figure out how to write my paper without them.” No, you don’t know what I said. Maybe if you absolutely can’t make yourself listen in class you could try reading my emails at the very least, since they also explained that.
The good news is that although this season is followed by “students bitch about how the B you gave them is ruining their lives” season, that season if followed by “I don’t have to see any of these kids for two weeks season.” We all need something to look forward to.