Friday, May 1, 2015

Dear Student III

Dear Student,

This is the third letter I will be writing to random students. When I started writing the first letter, I never thought I could make a series out of these letters, but here we are, months later, and I'm rethinking my tune. Maybe if I keep going, my Dear Student letters can be compiled and published. Stranger things have happened, you know. (In case you missed my second letter, you can find it here.)

But I'm not here to talk about my writing and publishing journey. I'm here to give you some tips for a successful semester. Now don't balk. I realize that our semester is actually over. Yes, you read that right. Maybe you aren't aware of it, but we took the last exam on Monday and I offered the comprehensive final on Wednesday, so in short, we're done. But since you contacted me last night about an exam you never made up--the one the rest of the students took on April 6--I wanted to make sure you knew that the class has indeed, come to a close.

Now that I've gotten that major fact out of the way, I have another big idea that needs to be talked about. Class attendance. Student, you NEED to attend class. I'm not sure what your life is like or why you signed up for a class and decided not to attend, but most people cannot enroll in an Anatomy and Physiology course and teach it to themselves. Yes, I'm sure somewhere along the way, the feat has been accomplished, but I think that circumstance has been pretty rare. So when I said, "Come to class regularly," at the beginning of the semester, I meant it.

Why would you want to come to class? Well, let's think about that question for a moment. Probably because much of the information I'm presenting requires that you understand physiological mechanisms. Yes, you can look at a picture of the body and memorize the muscles on your own, but you probably cannot understand the sliding filament theory and how a sarcomere contracts without at least a little guidance. And understanding how thyroid hormone is actually produced by yourself. Forget about it, student. Just don't even try it.

Furthermore--you'll really want to hear this, just wait--when you come to class, I give you clues. Yes, clues! Many times I will say, Don't worry about this slide, or Concentrate on this picture here. So when you go back home to study, you know what you should be studying. Holy crap, I actually help you! Had you been attending class, you'd have known this all along. And I'm guessing that maybe your lowest exam score would have been in the mid-C range instead of the F range.

So what else can I tell you? Besides attending class regularly, it is also important to pay attention to emails. Yes, you've shown up for most exams and contacted me about missing Exam 4. But after that one email, letting me know you'd need to make up Exam 4, I never heard a word from you. I went ahead and placed the exam in the testing center for you and gave you TWO WEEKS to make it up. Your excuse for not taking the exam? I'll quote you:
Hi, I had went to the testing center on Wednesday, April 7th to take my test you had sent there for me to make up, but all they had there for me was a math test from that week. I had emailed you but never heard back so maybe you didn't get it. Anyway, I went back today to see if maybe you hadn't sent it up there yet, but now they say it has expired.
A few things about that email concern me (besides the grammar issues). First off, the exam was in the testing center on April 7. If there is a problem, such as no test, the testing center usually calls me at home. I heard nothing from them. Secondly, you didn't go back to take the exam until "today," which was yesterday, April 30. I believe you went back when you saw the online gradebook, which placed you at an F. Finally--and this is the most aggravating to me (as you should be able to tell because this is the second time I am mentioning this fact)--YOU NEVER CONTACTED ME! No contact between April 6 and April 30. No word. Remember the beginning of the semester, on those few days you attended? I do. I marked you present and made sure to give my spiel. I said, "I correspond via email. Please check your email regularly. If you try to contact me via email and do not hear back in 24 hours, then please resend the email or call the Biology office. They will get me a message." If you had, indeed, not heard back when you emailed me, why didn't you try something else?

I'm disheartened and discouraged by you, Student. And your behavior is just the tip of the ice berg. I've been complaining about student behavior for years, which I guess means you aren't the only one who gets my goat.  

But as with everything I do in my life these days, I plan on learning from this semester  and moving forward when I teach again in the fall. My rules and regulations will have changed and I will no longer make exceptions to those rules and regulations. Do me a favor though, will you? Don't sign up for my class. Because if you didn't realize it from the scores in the gradebook, as well as what I've implied over the course of this letter, you're getting an F. Which means you need to take this class again. Good luck with that one.

Sincerely,

Your teacher

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