Sometimes I Hate Students

I’ve been on the warpath in one of my classes this morning.  One of my students called my call FIVE TIMES this morning while I was trying to get ready for work.  Did not bother leaving a voicemail to say what the problem was.  I didn’t call back.  I scrolled back to the first one to see when he or she call the first time and it was AFTER 11 PM LAST NIGHT!  Seriously?  Did you really think that I was going to be awake and inclined to deal with whatever you deemed an emergency after 11 PM on a Sunday night when I had to be at work this morning?

What happened to phone etiquette?  I think it disappeared with the birth of cell phones.  Suddenly you can call anybody, anywhere, at any time.  They are suddenly supposed to be available to you no matter what.  And evidently we are all supposed to be paranoid enough to call back any unrecognized number so there’s no reason to leave a message.  I’ve got news for you buddy.  I have my cell phone for MY convenience, not yours.  If I don’t have the time to answer right that second, I’m not going to.  And if you don’t leave me a message indicating you have actual business with me, then I assume you are a wrong number.

I also woke up to an inbox full of emails from students.  A few were legitimate issues with quizzes locking up.  Fine, clear them out, give a 24 hour extension, be done with it.  One student emailed me last week to request an extension on a couple of different quizzes because she evidently didn’t grasp the concept of going to the NEXT PAGE of assessments.  She emailed me last night to say they weren’t there.  Well no shit, sherlock.  You had a 24 hour extension from the time I emailed you back.  If you don’t bother checking your email until the weekend and miss your window, that is not my problem and sure as hell isn’t grounds for a second extension.

The Sunday before last, I had it brought to my attention that my big Unit 2 Exam (at a whopping 110 questions) had a 60 minute time limit on it.  It wasn’t supposed to have one at all.  So given that it was my screw up, I gave students the opportunity to retake it by last night if they emailed me that they were dissatisfied with their grade so that I could clear their attempt.  One student didn’t make her first attempt until AFTER the first deadline and then emailed me last night saying she’d be ready to take it again this week.  Um, no.  That’s not how this works.

Seriously people, I consider myself a reasonable woman.  I conduct hard classes on purpose.  I expect you to work.  If something happens, I’m willing to work with you on it.  But your being lazy or stupid or thinking you’re going to take advantage of me is just not going to put you on my good side.

I really don’t understand where this expectation that things should be handed over and easy comes from.  Life is not like that.  You have to be responsible for yourself, for doing what is expected of you.  And if you don’t, you have to accept the consequences.  And what is up with this striving for nothing more than mediocrity?  Does no one have pride in a job well done?  A good grade earned?  This is why that movie Idiocracy scares the crap out of me.  I see so clearly how we could end up there.

I hope I’m dead first.

10 thoughts on “Sometimes I Hate Students

  1. Amen, and I have SO been there.

    What you’re dealing with is really troubling on two fronts: first, none of us becomes a teacher for the money or the glory or all the time off people presume we have. We teach because we love our subject matter and the joy of learning for learning’s sake. The second issue is LIES. What student of yours can’t operate a variety of tech-based thingies with her hands and feet tied behind her back and her brain in the canister beside her bed? And she claims not to understand GOING TO THE NEXT PAGE?

    Please. Do they think we are THAT stupid?

    1. There is that to a point, though because I teach online, I have a lot of older, non-traditional students who really DO struggle with some of the technology. But still. It makes me want to scream. What age do you teach?

  2. I teach at the community college level, so primarily people in their early twenties. We’ve recently been inundated with returning students and re-entry workers (i.e. those over the age of 35).

    I can see the technology issue, but do those who are confused have the option of an in-person course?

    I suggest to my students who cry about their confusion about their word processing programs that perhaps they should try a thing called a typewriter.


    1. The majority of my online CC students are taking classes online because it is their only alternative due to jobs, families, location, etc. I’m still flabbergasted that the school does not mandate a minimum computer skills test be passed before they are allowed to enroll.

  3. Stay strong Kait! I worked 20+ hours per week while taking 5 classes per semester at university and never once handed in an assignment late (okay I was living at home; I know there are others who have it worse off). Yet teachers always, invariably, gave in to students who had the lamest excuses… I remember one guy with his “well I had a swim meet on Saturday so I couldn’t finish the assignment that you gave us weeks to do, so can I [not may I] have an extension?” – this on the morning that the assignment was due! And the teacher said yes! Grrrrrrrrrrr!

    1. Oh I am in no danger of giving in and actually letting these slackers have their way. I have a well-earned reputation as a hard ass, that I have no intention of losing.

  4. You go, girl! My guys are notoriously stiff as well, and most of the time, it works. This semester, Health Services actually sent an email out to the profs, copying the students, asking for leniency with slack attendence and missed tests due to the flu situation. Why they copied the students, we’ll never figure out, but they handed them a get out of class free card! It’s been awful. Profs who have never had a problem are routinely missing a third of their classes, tests skipped with excuses of a fever give a week later, and only after the professor contacted the student about the issue.

    I’m seeing more and more of an entitlement culture in our students, though mostly undergrad. Our non-traditional Master’s students seem immune for the time being. But the undergrads, they actually get angry and complain to administration because they think a test is “too hard”, or “the teachers in _____ dept let us do it”. Little or no interest in actually learning anything. Frustrating.

    1. I blame it on the lack of standards in public education from K-12. A lot of that is directly related to the fact that teachers have to focus on teaching students how to take tests rather than actually giving them the skills they need to succeed. N0 Child Left Behind is such crap. It’s a noble concept but the simple fact of the matter is that not all kids are created equal in terms of academic capability and trying to mix kids of all ability levels in the same class means nobody gets ahead. I don’t care if it’s considered segregating or favoritism–students should be grouped in terms of what they’re capable of doing so that everybody is on the same page and classes can actually LEARN. Otherwise, everybody is taught at the lowest common denominator and then they get to us at the college level and cry foul or that we’re too hard.

  5. It sure does my heart good to see both students and teachers who agree that lowering standards / changing rules are NOT answers.

    Many of the rules I have in place are BECAUSE of the students like deniz who work their butts off. I was one of those students, and I resented instructors who allowed slackers to have extensions when I had managed my time to ensure I got things done in the time given.

    I also find myself amazed at the number of students who don’t even consider the fact that teachers have lives away from work: this is another big reason I stick to deadlines. I have other joys in life, and I used to devote ALL my time to teaching at the expense of the other areas of my life. When a student asks for an extension, extra credit, or other special treatment, it trickles down to my personal time, and that absolutely belongs to me now.

    Life leaves many people behind–I think it’s better kids learn that harsh lesson from their parents, but if the parents fail, it should at least be taught in school.

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