Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The importance of being absent

A student who's already been absent more times than she should have--and it's early in the term, mind you--came to tell me after class today that she would be missing the last half hour or so of our next meeting because of a work obligation.

And she wanted to know whether I could rearrange the class so she wouldn't miss anything "important." She suggested that I delay discussion of the readings from this spectacularly engaging and useful book--which we generally do at the beginning of class--because she doesn't find them interesting.

I explained that our readings on how to write were very important--this being, you know, a composition class--and that, in fact, everything we did was important. I observed that the only way to avoid missing important things was to be in class the entire time and that she might consider asking the folks at work whether they couldn't find someone to cover for her for that half hour.

She said that was just impossible--they have, you know, professional people showing up to do something important, and she needed to be there.

I said it was too bad she'd be missing part of class; that although I knew our class met at a potentially inconvenient time, she should do her best to attend all of every section; and that we would see what we would see about how the class would be arranged that day.

And she looked awfully exasperated by my inflexibility.

You know, even if you do think your instructor isn't really a professional, that her class isn't nearly as good an investment of your time as other enterprises in your life, and that portions of the course are both profoundly boring and unimportant, you probably don't want to let her know that quite so openly.

And it's really rather breathtakingly arrogant and inconsiderate to ask an instructor to rearrange her class schedule to accommodate both your absence for a non-emergency and your desire to be as entertained as possible for as long as possible before heading out the door.

I'm wondering whether I should write her a follow-up email to explain some of these things?