Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dear Student VI

Dear Student,

Hi. How are you? How is the semester progressing for you? I think it's going quite well for me, actually, not that you asked. Do you know how many more weeks we have to go? What? You don't look at the syllabus? Why am I not surprised?

I could have told you that you don't look at the syllabus, that you don't listen to me, and that your attendance is spotty. I can see this with my own eyes, and I want to remind you that way back at the beginning of the semester (that's six weeks ago, since we're in our seventh week), we had a discussion. Not just you and me, but a whole-class discussion. About expectations: yours and mine.

Does that word expectation ring a bell? It should, for I threw it into that discussion so many times I got sick of hearing myself say the word. One of those expectations was that you would check your email daily. I remember distinctly saying to the entire class: This course is not an online class, but so much of our information is provided via email and course links that it is crucial for you to check your email. Sometimes, I might have important information for you.

You nodded your head up and down, like you understood. But as the semester has progressed, I have come to realize that the nodding of your head must simply be a reflex (a very well-developed one, I might add). You've done poorly on the first lecture and lab exams, and while you say you don't have questions, the blank stare of your glazed eyes tells me otherwise. It's obvious to me that the information is not quite sinking in.

However, I'm not writing this letter to belittle your lack of studying, lack of questioning me, or lack of anything else other than your lack of checking email. For at the end of that discussion I referred to earlier, I repeated myself: You must check email. Especially during the winter months. You never know what can happen with respect to weather. In addition, I am a mom and have a life as well. Canceling class rarely happens, but it can happen. So check your email, just in case.

Well, here we are, just under halfway through the semester, and we have a just in case moment. My guess is that you don't yet know about it.

Yes, that's right. Today, there will be no class. I've canceled both lab and lecture for a personal matter, and I not only emailed your entire lab section, but I also sent two messages via the lecture email group. In those emails, I instructed anyone who didn't make it to class on Tuesday (ahem, meaning you) to contact me.

Why? Because the exam we were supposed to hold today? Yeah, that second exam that's been on the syllabus since the beginning of class--it's been converted to a take home exam. An exam I handed out most of on Tuesday (when you weren't there). An exam that will need to be returned next Tuesday, in its entirety. (And by the way, the second half of that exam--an essay portion--was posted on the group's site. You would know this if you'd checked your email.)

Here's the problem that you have, then, since you don't check email:
  1. You don't know there's no class today. (What a waste of time for you.)
  2. You don't know what happened on Tuesday. (Check the mail, doggone it!)
  3. You don't know that the exam is available for you, if you only email me. (My guess is you will look at the empty classroom and just think it's your lucky day. It's about to turn unlucky really quickly, kiddo.)
I doubt I needed to spell those three points out for my readers, but I thought I would for you. (Just like I've spelled out other tidbits for other students in these letters, although the last letter was more positive than this one.)

Let me also spell out for you that if you arrive to class on Tuesday empty-handed, simply because you didn't check your email, I will hand you a big round zero.

In fact, you can expect it.

Sincerely,

Your Teacher

1 comment:

S. B. House said...

I always love your student letters.