Friday, December 10, 2010

That Time of Year

Nope, not about cold or snow (although I had great fun with my nearly new snow-rake yanking a huge snow drift off of my roof).  Not about holiday specials (despite a fun post over at Slate on which Christmas specials Jews allow for their kids to see, with the snow/heat miser excellence overcoming any possibility that the Jews may be the ones stealing/denying X-mas).

No, it is that biennial time where students suddenly realize that they are falling short of their requirements and beg professors for relief.  One of my friends (both on FB and in reality) has been posting a tale of a student who absolutely needs a specific grade to pass his class and graduate.  The best comment on the notes thus far: when a prof was told he was the only obstacle on the way to a student's pursuit of a medical degree, his first thought was how many patients' lives he would be saving by preventing this kid from becoming a doctor.

I have not had too much of this at McGill, although it comes up some of the time.  The plague this year has mostly been students who have just been unwilling/unable to meet the paper deadlines, with some students only realizing late in the game that they missed the first paper deadline by more than a month.  I have no clue as to how this could happen, given that the paper deadlines are in the syllabus, that I mention them several times over the course of the weeks approaching the deadline, that the teaching assistants talk about the papers during the discussion sections, and so on.  I guess there is a difference between getting a regular F (like a 45 or so) and an Zero. 

I guess I have gotten to where I am because I was responsible (not that I worked as hard as I could have/should have in high school and college), so I have hard time understanding why students can be so incredibly irresponsible.  But then again, my first thought when I see a headline about Miley Cyrus taking a hit from a bong is that this is not surprising behavior from an 18 year old.  I guess I should hold the less responsible students to the same kind of standard, right?*

*  Of course, with a class of 600, there will always be a fair number of students who do not follow instructions.  The disturbing thing is how many students in my 76 person upper division class seemed not to care about the deadlines or handed in papers that really reflected little work done until the last minute.

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