Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Finally! My long summer, in which I did not get a decent vacation, is over. I turned the grades in for the second summer session after the final.

Now and then I have a student who is clueless. I had one this time around.

The student had some problems and did not attend the last two weeks of the five week session. I thought the student had grounds to file a late withdrawal with the registrar, so that is what I advised. But this student would have none of that. This student wanted to finish the course. I advised that the student might not like the results.

Then the student took a make-up test and scored low. Most people score badly on make-ups. Often, the dedicated students do whatever is necessary to take the test on time, so a large proportion of students taking makeups are not serious students.

On the day of the final I arrived at my office an hour early, at 10:15. My problem student had sent mail at 9:35 saying, "People who realize that I have not been there for weeks will think I got special treatment when I show up for the test."

I replied immediately. There are usually some students whom I only see at test time. Nobody says anything about them. With people sitting all around the room to get an empty desk in between them for the test, nobody notices exactly who is there and who is not.

The student's mail also said, "I will just take the test in your office on Monday. Let me know if this is OK."

I replied, "I will have grades turned in by then. You need to take the test in class today."

I figured that since the student sent the mail an hour and a half before the test and I replied an hour before the test, that the student would check the mail and come take the final.

The student did not show up.

I have seen things like this before. But it makes me shake my head. How presumptuous. The course is over. A student has a trivial reason not to take the final with everyone else, and sends an email naming the time and place that is acceptable. Be there, prof.

I think this student is in store for a learning experience.

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