Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yes, I am just sitting here waiting on you to need something.

It's that time of the semester: you know, when all those assignments that they have known about since the first day of class start coming due. Monday the students on one of my classes (who actually have had a fairly light schedule up until now) said, "What are the chances you would move that policy booklet that is due Friday to the 30th?" I said none. I reminded them that they had Wednesday and Friday of last week with no class and they were to work on the policy booklet. I reminded them they had known about this assignment since the first day ofclass, and that I had frequently reminded them to start on it and work on it throughout the semester. I stressed (not that they cared) that I had 65 research papers due on the 30th that had to be graded that week, along with the final exams and that it was impossible to add 20 more major assignments and think I would finish.

They begged and said pretty please, and then, rolled their eyes and huffed--at least some of them did. It's not that I am unfeeling or unsympathetic...kind of...a little bit. After all, it is a relatively simple assignment, just time consuming; but one in which if a student only did one agency a week for 15 weeks, would have done all 15 agencies by the end of the semester. Or for those not that organized, 5 agencies every month for the 3 months of the class. Rocket science it ain't. I suppose the real question for me came down to "Was I willing to create a hardship for myself--possibly even an impossibility--because they had not used their time wisely?" My answer was no, I was not. After all, in social work, the judge won't care why you don't have a family assessment plan for her; she will just care that you don't have one. Your agency director will not care why your progress notes are not in the chart on time; he will just care that they were not there and the accrediting body cited them for non-compliance. "Your honor, I am a procrastinator; I don't do my work on a timely basis, and I want you to extend yourself in my behalf, and jeopardize the life of my client because I cannot manage my time. You see my point of view, don't you?" Somehow, I am not seeing that fly.

I must have had 25 emails and that many phone calls in the last 2 days. I grade papers all weekend every weekend, and most nights. There is only so much one human can do in a 24 hours period. I spent the day in Tupelo yesterday, arriving home at 6:30 p.m. after starting the day at 6:00 a.m. I don't think I am a slacker these days. Every spare minute between seeing students, I was grading papers and giving feedback. Yep, those 25 emails are "I sent you my draft 15 minutes ago, but I don't have a reply." The phone call: "I took my test; I don't have a grade." Okay, when did you take the test. "Just now." Okay, well, I was not just sitting here looking at my drop box waiting to see if something showed up in it. I will get to it as soon as I can.

I took 2 more calls (after I shut down the computer and was ready to walk out the door) wanting to know why the paper they had submitted 2 nano-seconds ago had not been graded. I stopped at my colleague's door on the way out and said, "Why is it a student thinks if she has put her paper in your drop box, you are supposed to immediately respond?" Kim laughed and agreed. "Yep, like you are just sitting there watching the drop box for something to come in." Deja vu. Or , I wonder, not realizing that you have 20 other students in that class (or even more) and every one of them is dropping papers on the due date--well, unless they are late due to being procrastinators that is--and that no human being can read more than one paper at a time. I read them in the order they come in, okay?

I said I was going home and putting on my pajamas, and then sitting down in front of my computer. Kim asked, "To wait for papers to show up in your drop box?" It made me laugh, and remember not to take it all so seriously. Just do the next thing; South Africa is coming.


Kathi said...

It cracks me up to know that university students are no different from middle school students! I dealt with the exact same issues. Retirement is sooooooo great! Every once in awhile I miss teaching, and then I'm reminded of this stuff, and I sure don't miss that part. Don't mean to rub it in... :)

Suzassippi said...

The reason university students are just like middle school students is most of them have developed no new skills or matured since middle school. The majority of the work of college students these days is at the middle school level.

Gigi said...

And I think we see many of these same characteristics in the general population as we go about our daily lives. Unfortunate! Accountability is sometimes hard to find. Oh, that's right--YOU are supposed to be overly responsible but they don't have to be responsible at all. :)