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compulsory mis-education December 3, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in education, teaching.
Tags: , ,


One of the first things I learned in college is that it’s never a good idea to skip class.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t do it, but I did so with the realization that I would likely be paying for it later.  This made me try to minimize it as much as possible, and generally I tried to make it unless I was sick or there was some other problem.  (And with kids, there is always some other problem.)

I was a therefore a bit irritated when I received two emails from a student asking if he needed to attend class anymore.  His reasoning is that there are no more assignments due, so there is no longer a compelling reason to attend.  I responded by saying that, unless there is an emergency, it is assumed that the students will be in class.

I didn’t say, “Yes, you have to be there.”  Realistically, I have no way of enforcing this.  However, I wasn’t about to let him off the hook.  The last day of classes are actually reasonably important.  We have evaluations (now is your chance to complain!).  I’m also having a student who has gone through the program give a presentation.  The idea is that they can ask him questions and find out what may be important as they go down the road.

Aside from that, I don’t know how to get across to him that attending class is important.  At least, it was in my experience.  However, I’m wondering if maybe this is just a self-centered point of view.  Maybe there are other things that the student needs to do that will impact their long-term outcome much more than missing my class.  I also don’t want to be the cranky old woman, shaking her cane and yelling at those darn kids.  Should I just trust that they’re better at prioritizing their own schedules?  I’m not sure…

Maybe there would be better incentive if I provided free food.


1. James - December 3, 2012

I once asked to skip a Philosophy class so I could catch a ride home for the holidays. My professor said “There are those that would come to school, and leave thereafter.” She certainly didn’t tell me what to do but the point was clear. Actually, she attributed it to her father and I really respected the teacher, so it was likely I was going to listen. In fact, I did come to class, but I also skipped at least my share of classes (from other teachers). It seems worthwhile to deliver the message with the full realization you can’t control how it is received.

2. Rebecca - December 3, 2012

The college my son attends has very small classes. So when they are not there, the professor calls or emails to ask what happened. They really do keep an eye on the kids. I suspect you have way too many students to do that. I remember skipping a few classes here and there. Not something I’d recommend though. Made it very difficult to catch up.


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