Monday, May 11, 2015

Life in the Pissant Swamp: The Case of the Inveterate Slacker

So it's another day in the Pissant Swamp neighbourhood and I have received yet another fascinating and revealing letter from one of my students this semester. One of my students has emailed to ask me to send him or her a link to the website I created to give students access to my class lecture notes.

I actually type up all of my lecture notes along with links to primary source material and suggested readings and put them on my website so students can peruse them and use them as study guides for the midterm and final examinations. I don't have to do this, of course, and it takes me hours and hours to do it, but I have typically done it as an additional service for my students to aid them in passing this class. I tell students about this website on the very first day of class, in this case in late January, access these notes everyday in class giving the students a frequent essay in their importance, and tell students to make use of them in studying for the class and its examinations.

So am I surprised that I get a request for the address of my website two days before the final exam? The answer to that question is a resounding no. After fifteen years of teaching in the Pissant Swamp I am no longer surprised by the actions and behaviours of students that seem to suggest a lack of concern about their education and make one wonder why some students want to even be in ivy halls of academe in the first place. I am resigned to getting requests like this and others of a similar nature each and every semester. Still the fact that they occur again and again bore me.

Still it makes me wonder about several other things about students. Was this student in class when I announced where this website was? Answer: I don't know. Did this student come to class regularly? Answer: I think not. Did this student lose the address to my website? Answer: Perhaps. If so why did he or she wait until two days before the exam to contact me about it? Answer: I don't know. You would think given the importance of these notes the student would have contacted me earlier if he or she did lose the address. Is this student typical of college students in that he or she waits till the last moment to do schoolwork? Answer: Indubitably. Why do students typically wait until the last moment to do the schoolwork on which their grades and hence their college careers depend?...

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