The Waiting Room

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Whole Lotta F-ing Nerve

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I gave a student in my law class a one day extension on his paper. I told him that I needed the paper by noon on Friday. Well, I get this email Friday morning where the student tells me that he was up all night, sick as can be. He said he was "dying". (Um, if you were really dying you would not be emailing me). He also said that he need just two more sources and his paper would be 'awesome". He wanted to turn his paper later that day.

I emailed him back explaining that I needed the paper by noon becuase I am on a deadline and besides, giving the extension is a courtesy that I don't normally grant. I finished by saying that I needed the paper in my hands or via email by noon.

I guess the guy can't read becuase he said "Well, I really want to give yo a great paper. So, I will give it to you later today or tomorrow at the latest.

All together now...ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!!!

Who in the hell does this guy think he is? He totally disregarded what I said and told me when he was going to submit the paper.

I sent him a second email which said that under no certain terms that I was to recieve the paper by noon or he would receive no credit. I left my office at 12:15. No one showed up with a paper and there was nothing in my email.

Around 3 PM yesterday, I checked my email. Guess what was in my inbox. The student's paper. Time on the email...2:30 PM.

GRRRRR. My urge to kill is rising.

I have not responded to the student yet. I am so pissed right now. The arrogance displayed here really grinds my gears. It's no wonder why I am such a jaded person. Every time I give someone an inch, they take ten yards. So, I end up being a very non-compassionate instructor because I can't trust anyone to do what I ask them to do. I mean what's next? I guess I will have to cease granting extension period, or make the student sign a contract.

I don't want to accept the paper. He did not do what we agreed to do. My policies are not open for negotiation. It is what it is. I supposed I could read it and see if he would fail outright anyway. But, it just seems wrong in my eyes.


RageyOne said...

wow! that is a whole lotta f-ing nerve! i couldn't, nor would i ever do something of the sort. ugh! i dislike those types of people who feel that they can defy authority and do what they want just because.

i hope you don't accept the paper and give him no credit. i mean, you were already accommodating by granting an extension (which you didn't have to) and now this. just sad on his part.

desertdemocrat said...

I wouldn't give me any credit for the paper. You made it very clear that there was a deadline, and that if he didn't meet that deadline he would not receive credit for the work.

He chose to ignore the deadline both in his response to that email and by emailing the paper to you after the deadline. Perhaps facing the consequences of ignoring deadlines will teach him the importance of meeting deadlines.

Yesterday, a student whose paper was due the day before stood in my doorway with paper in hand and did not say a word. She just stood there. I let her stand there for several moments and finally asked if why she was there. She tried to hand me her paper without saying a thing! I again asked why she was there.

You got it--no response except for the paper being thrust in my direction. Finally I said, "your paper was due yesterday at noon, so why are you here today trying to hand it in? The deadline has passed."

Finally, she says something: "I was trying to figure out what to write."

I told her she should have figured that out by the deadline, and that I was not accepting her paper.

She began to cry. I repeated I was not accepting the paper. She put it in the plastic bin on my office door and stomped off.

The paper still sits in that bin.


Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I've had students try that with me. A couple even wanted to do grade challenges because they thought I should have accepted stuff after the drop-dead deadline I set and announced in class.

I would do the following:
1) Print out your e-mails to him and the e-mail he sent you.
2) Send an e-mail to your dean telling them that there may be trouble with X student because you are about to reject their paper because it is after the clearly communicated deadline.
3) Send him an e-mail that says, "I cannot accept your paper. It was sent after the deadline. If I give you further extensions then I would be unfair to the large number of students who got their work in before the deadline. I've CC'd my dean on this and I have forwarded our e-mail conversation to my dean. If you'd like to appeal my decision, she has the full conversation."

Really, this is an act of tough love. Later profs and bosses won't be nearly as forgiving and he'd might as well learn that deadlines are actual things people meet or don't. They aren't subjective and they aren't negotiable. The sooner he learns this, the better because this isn't about ignoring you, it is about his poor work habits and because he's been able to get away with it before. College is sometimes about learning hard lessons, so teach him one.

Jake said...

Tough love? Perhaps, although I think when we asscribe our actions to things like that we really are thinking too much about the situation.

Sometimes it's difficult to not see situations such as this as some kind of a personal slight. It would be very easy to read being taken for granted, or not seriously into the matter. He's probably an adolescent who has not yet come into his own in terms of maturity. He will eventually and whether we accept late papers from students like him or not really ultimately has a more profound effect on us rather than them.

My advice?? Do what you think is best. You have to be true to yourself (I hope I don't sound like Polonius).

Also, if I may, try to rise above the anger that such things provoke in us. from what I read in your blog you arean committed teacher . That has to be enough.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

How irritating. But most likely it's a crappy paper anyways, so if you want to avoid paperwork and hassle, I'd say just grade it. The student likely rushed through it and won't have a good grade anyways. Of course, a late-assignments-equal-zero clause in a syllabus would mean there is no discussion.

JustMe said...

that is a whole lot of nerve!! wow. seriously, i mean geez.

Mad Hatter said...

If it were me, I wouldn't accept the paper. Not because you're pissed at him for taking advantage or even to teach him that there exist rules in life that must be followed. But because as a professor, you define the criteria by which your students will be graded and those need to be applied consistently to all of your students. Aside from fairness to the students who did hand in their assignments on time, there is also the issue of your credibility at stake.

Having said that, if he was truly at death's door, you could ask for a doctor's note and accept his paper, but dock some number of points for having missed a clear deadline.

Psychgrad said...

Maybe the teaching side of you is correct in that he is innocently ignorant. But that's no excuse. Students that care make sure that they're aware. Warnings about plaigarism are everywhere. Disregarding what you said about your deadline is unacceptable. He is bullying you and that's just plain rude, ignorant or not - having no consequence would be positive reinforcement for this student.

Seeking Solace said...

Thanks everyone for telling me what I already knew deep down, but just needed some confirmation from my blogger friends. I have a clause in my syllabus about no late work. I don't accept it. That's it.

As far as my policy for extensions. I guess I am going to have to refine that too. Maybe no extension without a doctor's note of a letter from the morge.

RussianViolets said...

I swear, my dear, that I have this student every semester. I gave an extension of this ilk -- once -- and that was enough. NEVER again! For exactly the reasons you indicate (you had an agreement, the syllabus is a contract, and policies are policies), I think that the best thing to do is to uphold your syllabus. Of course, if he can produce discharge papers from the hospital, that may change things. But you know that he cannot do so, and there is no reason for you to have to bend the rules for some smug bully. 'Tis better that he learn now.

Good luck!

Byrdfire said...

I just wanted to add my two cents in this discussion. As a student, it angers me to read about others like this who take advantage of the rules set forth early in the semester. This semester I was hospitalized twice, resulting in a total of three weeks out of school. Yet, aside from the deadlines that were missed while I was actually in the hospital, I worked hard and made up the time and turned the other assignments in on time. And on top of that, my grades are in the top of my classes.

Essentially, what I am trying to say is that if school is as important to the individual as it should be, then they will take the time to perform the tasks required for the grade. I work my tail off to get my A's, and I do my best to be accommodating to my professors. After all, you all are doing us a favor by sharing your knowledge with us, helping us to learn and to be better individuals.

Instructions given at the beginning of the semester, or at the very least at the time the assignment was handed out, should be clear to each student in the class. Each student has the option of following the instructions with their grade being dependent upon the success of completing the assignment as stated clearly in the instructions. It is not fair to anyone, the other students in the class, you the professor, nor for the student himself for special allowances to be made except under extreme justifiable circumstances. Post high school education is a gift that is earned, it is not a guaranteed right.

Thank you for letting me air my frustrations on this subject:)

- Byrd

Abbey said...

I'm a stickler when it comes to these things. I would do as you did and not accept the paper. However, out of curiosity I'd probably still read the 'awesome' paper. That way, you have confirmation that the paper wasn't 'awesome' just in case the student pushes the issues to higher levels.

Seeking Solace said...

Byrdfire: You are an instructor's dream. I am sorry you were so sick during the semester, but you did what you had to do to finish strong. I wish more students were like you!