Monday, April 24, 2006

Dear Students

Dear Students,

I really don't care why you were absent the other day. Really. Unless it's a story worth telling (for instance -- you were rescuing a child from a storm drain a la George Clooney on ER), don't bother with the details. Just get whatever information you need from me (the paper topic, the translation line numbers, whatever) and let's get on with our lives.

With no harsh feelings, just precious little time,
Dr. V

A variation on "Dear Students" posts seen at Xoom and I Know What I Know (whose own contribution warmed the cockles of my heart).

[Note for those who're interested -- my attendance policy is simple: Don't miss class. If you miss more than three classes, it will affect your participation grade. A death in the immediate family (with obituary or funeral card for proof, I'm afraid) or your own grave injury or illness requiring hospitalization or other extreme treatment may qualify you for an exception or an incomplete, if necessary.]

8 comments:

Karl Steel said...

I like this.

Dear Students,

If I cover comma splices more than two times during the semester, and I have, in fact, distributed a handout explaining what one is, I am fully justified in kicking your grade down the stairs if you continue comma splicing, even if you think grammar is "boring."

Yours,

medieval woman said...

Oh God, I hear you on all this! If I have to hear one more reason why they won't be in class (I'm so sick, my computer fried, I have a flesh-eating virus), I'm going to implode - like you, I told them not to give me the details, just show up or don't show up at your peril. If there's a legitimate excuse (like a death), then contact me. Otherwise - it's your choice! Unfortunately, they think that notification exempts them from having an absence count...blech.

Dr. Virago said...

If there's a legitimate excuse (like a death), then contact me.

But, but, if I'm dead, how can I contact you! That's sooooooo unfair!!!!!!!

Te-hee!

You know what just occurred to me? When I was working as a paralegal after college we got *6* sick days a year. 6. A year! That's like 3% of working days. I give my students *10%* of our class meetings as 'freebies' before docking them. I'm going to start pointing that out in my syllabuses.

Fast Fizzy said...

I have a good excuse. I was rescuing *myself* from the storm drain (gutter). Did I flunk?

Bardiac said...

I don't worry when students miss class, so long as they've been active participants and it doesn't happen often. But BOY, do I NOT want to hear excuses about why I need to arrange for them to do make up or extra credit work. Seriously, it's not what I signed up for.

Dr. Virago said...

Bardiac -- Actually, I don't really mind if they miss now and then -- it happens -- I just don't want to hear endless stories of why. That's why I give them the three freebies. And yet, I still have to hear why. Sigh. And yeah -- I *definitely* don't want to arrange make-up work. I made an exception for a student who was *giving* *birth* during the midterm, but that's about it! And extra credit -- what is this? Junior high?

Fizzy -- pull yourself out of the gutter, young man. Oh wait, you did. But your real excuse is that you were answering Mom's Lifeline call while Dad was in the house. Sigh. You get credit for that one!

Dr. Virago said...

Oh, and Karl -- yeah, comma splices. Gr. Or anything that you have to explain over and over. Like the whole "since the beginning of history" thing. *Why* do they keep doing that???

Karl Steel said...

Oh man, yours do that? I began every paper in high school "Throughout history..."

--
Dear Students,

If we're approaching the last day of class, and you want to meet with me to talk about your big papers, please try to pretend you know what my office hours are when I tell you to drop by. Otherwise, I feel as as though I've been wasting my time by making the effort to list them on the syllabus and, worse yet, to show up for them faithfully throughout the semester.

Yours,

--

Or, here's another one:

Dear Students,

Please don't refer to words not your own in your papers as "quotes" (e.g., "In the above quote..."). Call them "arguments," "points," anything, really, that calls attention the rhetorical function of whatever it is you brought in. Thanks.

Yours,