Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Get Your Stuff Together

This blog post reports of an interesting encounter: that a student at NYU's business school was shopping for classes and entered a business prof's class an hour late; he told student x to come back on time the next class; student wrote letter saying that x was just jumping in and out of class on the first day to shop and didn't know the rules; prof wrote long email explaining that manners, humility and such were basic requirements and the easy stuff one should master if one wants to succeed. 

And I say: hell, yeah!  I tend not to have the guts to take strong stands since I am soft and squishy, but I hate, hate, hate with a burning passion when students leave class early.  I tend to expect folks to come a bit late (although an hour late would set me off), but leaving early really distracts me and my students.  I used to have my TAs at TTU chase down early leavers to get their names and dress them down, but that proved to be a big distraction. 

If I were really smart and teaching a big lecture class, I might actually game it so that a fake student comes by very late, I kick them out, and then send around an email like this.  Not saying this event is fake, but it is almost as good as a friend of mine who stages a cell-phone call at the beginning of the term which leads to a planted phone being throwing somewhere.

Anyhow, I find the entire story plausible even if some folks on twitter do not: entitled student, outraged but articulate prof, email that digs the hole deeper and then counter-email which edu-micates quite well.


backslashscott said...

I'm curious - as a student- how to deal with the registration process without this type of behavior. In my undergrad, the first week was all you had before the add/drop date, and for once-a-week classes you would not be able to check out classes at the same time. I would often try to e-mail professors to get an advanced copy of the syllabus, but didn't always get a response in time. At schools with particularly stringent registration periods, how do you navigate the beginning of the semester?

Steve Saideman said...

Well, you can go to the office hours of the prof and get the syllabus; you can get past versions of the syllabus (they change but mostly not that much); you can notify the prof ahead of time of your behavior so it is less distracting/rude.

The reality is that you really do not know what a class is like for a couple of weeks, so a sample of an hour is really not going to give you that much information anyway.

So, take the class that best fits your needs/schedule, and if there are two that compete, see which one is likely to be available next semester/year.