Professors Killing Grandparents 2013 version (PKG13)

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So, 2013 has just started. In fact, at my university we have only finished one week of the semester and I have already killed a grandparent. I'm teaching an online introductory course that is required of all majors in the college, taken in the second year. Ms. Smith hasn't responded to any emails I have sent to the class or to her individually all week. She has also completed no homework, quizzes, etc. (online course, remember, so lots of online tasks).

Today, she answered my "Spring Semester is Here!" email which was sent to all the students a week ago, with this:


Dear Dr. Octo,
     I have received the e-mail and will be working on everything right away, starting with printing and signing the papers and turning them. I apologize for such a late start. My Grandpa passed away Sunday the 13th and I let the fact of school starting slip my mind. I am very excited about learning all of the new content in this course.
         Suzy Smith

I really do feel sorry for anyone who loses a loved one (We've all been there, unfortunately.) but I don't think that would make me forget the semester was starting, esp. if that death happened less than 24 hours before the start of the semester. I might panic about having to deal with starting the semester while grieving, of course (been there, done that), but I wouldn't forget that a semester was starting.. But, whatever.  I understand being upset and such, but forgetting there's a semester in which you've signed up for classes...?

I can't believe I've killed one in the first week of the semester. BOO!

So, anyone else killed any grandparents yet? Let's hear your stories or confessions, whichever!

So far, with classes not yet having started. I've killed no elderly but apparently am responsible for scheduling the removal of wisdom teeth in the first week -- after many weeks of semester break, without classes -- when the first assignment is due . . . although the assignment is in an online class and can be posted ahead of time.  I'm also apparently already responsible for complications to come from said oral surgery that will require a week of being put into a nigh-coma, necessitating inability to do the next week's work as well.

And today's emails tell me that I also am Commander in Chief! as I am responsible for scheduling three straight weeks of Army reserves training during the semester.  Three weeks.  I never have seen that, although I'm at a campus with a lot of students in the reserves, Guard, etc., with training that can go four or five days, including a weekend, so at most one assignment missed.  That, we can work out.  But three weeks' worth of work, the assignments that comprise class discussion so require replying to others as scheduled?  And weeks including a midterm test?  No -- and apparently (I await the paperwork) this is not active duty that meets campus policy for accommodating military service.  So, we will see whether I can figure out how to patriotically figure it out.

With these pre-semester emails already, I have the sense that I ought to issue warnings to many hundreds of grandmothers of my students.  Never the grandfathers, of course.  Apparently, they need not fear me.

Wow, Octo.  She's using up Grandpa awfully early in the semester.  (Actually, because it's Grandpa rather than Grandma, I tend to believe her.)

And ProfTowanda - I salute you ;)

I once had a professor who claimed he was responsible for multiple deaths of grandparents and untold damages to cars...LOL!

I have been responsible for three host families having to suffer from unrealistic students with entitlement issues so far this semester, but I haven't been responsible for any deaths yet. I didn't have a single student with a problem last semester so I am bracing for a wild ride this semester to make up for it.  

I do have two faculty who haven't submitted reference letters that were due at the first of the month, but of course that is hard for them to do if the student didn't actually ask them yet! Excuses, excuses.


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