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Author Topic: "Favorite" conversations with students  (Read 2392595 times)
Senior member
Posts: 858

« on: November 11, 2008, 1:12:11 pm »

Instead of clogging up the email thread with non-email anecdotes, I figured I'd start a new thread for our (not-so-)favorite face-to-face interactions.

Setting: 10:25 AM in my classroom. Class started at 9:35. Most students showed up on time with their hard-copy paper drafts in tow for a graded self-evaluation and peer-review exercise that they've known about since the first day of class and were also reminded about in class and by email within the last five days. About a quarter of them are still in the room finishing up (but even they'll all be gone in the next ten minutes); most have already finished and moved on. Perpetual No-Show (hereinafter PNS) enters the room calmly and slowly makes his way up to my desk.

PNS: So I'm here.

Me: Yes, you are. Class started nearly an hour ago.

PNS: So I can't do the peer review?

Me: No, all of your peers' drafts have already been assigned to reviewers.

PNS: So I can't do it?

Me: That's right, you can't do it.

PNS: But it's worth points.

Me: Yes it is.

PNS: Oh. Well, what should I do?

Me: Nothing now.

PNS: Oh.

PNS shrugs and exits.
be serious I am a
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 5,562

na na na na, na na na na , hey hey hey, goodbye

« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2008, 2:23:14 pm »

Ah yes, the astonished that the rules of attendance apply to me PNS student.

Here's mine:
PNS (perhaps it is the same student, wait no, this ones a girl) : I missed class last week.
Me: Yes (internal thought - the past several weeks actually)
PNS: you sent me an email that I have been reassigned to a new project team.
Me: Yes, did you contact the student I told you was leading that team?
PNS: Uh, no.
Me: You need to speak with them, look there he is now.
PNS: Uh, so ...
Me: right over there, see he just waved.
PNS: Uh, OK.

walks over to speak to team leader.  He hands her a script.  She returns to me.

PNS: I have a question for you.
Me: Ok.
PNS: using really whiney voice They are making me do the XXdesign and I wanted to do the Xdesign and I don't think its fair that you moved me to a new team.
Me: Your team never met by the deadline.  All of you have been moved to new teams because I want there to be a chance that you actually do this project.  You were not here last week when that deadline went into effect and this is the result.  No options left now.
PNS: But I don't know anything about XX Design.  I wasn't here when you covered it.
Me: You weren't here when I covered the other two design areas either.
PNS: Oh.  she sadly walks away looking confused.

The time is out of joint—O cursèd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 18,540

« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2008, 5:41:31 pm »

Here's a conversation I had today during an exam with a Chronic Text Messager (CTM).

(Context: the essay question they have to answer is "Using the events of September 11th, 2001 as an example, explain the five steps of Kenneth Burke's dramatistic cycle. Be sure to clearly label and explain each stage.")

CTM: I'm confused about this quesiton.
Me: What's confusing?
CTM: So are you asking us to write about September 11th or Burke?
Me: Both.
CTM: So we only need to write about September 11th?
Me: I want you to list the five steps in the dramatistic process according to Kenneth Burke using it as an example.
CTM: So we don't need to write about September 11th?
Me: You need to do both.
CTM: Oh.

Why would I include "using September 11th as an example" in the question prompt if I didn't mean it? Argh.

I hear the pay is great, and if you bring a friend, you get a free flamethrower.
Wielder of the Chillax
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 2,222

« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2008, 5:51:35 pm »

My office is near someone who meets with a lot of students. It's gotten to the point that I have a sign instructing them that I do not know where she is. It's not that they are frequently late, it's that they don't even understand that they are late.

Student: Hi, where is Prof Fancy Pants?
Me: Do you have an appointment with her?
Student: Yeah at 3 and she's not here [looks slightly peeved]
Me: [notes that time is currently 3:21] Were you here on time? Maybe she gave up and left.
Student: [shocked look on face]

That always blows their mind.

Render unto Geedorah what is Geedorah's.
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 18,540

« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2008, 6:09:51 pm »

CTM just had an angry meltdown as she was leaving the test room that she didn't think one of the e-reserve articles would be on the exam, because she "couldn't find it anywhere" on Blackboard. Why would I list it on the study guide then, Snowflake? And I've gone over on Blackboard at least six times how to access the e-reserves.

File this one in the "not my problem" category.

I hear the pay is great, and if you bring a friend, you get a free flamethrower.
Potnia theron and
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 10,536

« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2008, 6:26:39 pm »

Conference with student:

Student:  My problem with this paper is that I don't know what to say.

Me: That is a problem.  Is there something about the novel that interests you?  Confuses or excites you?

Student:  No.  I just don't care. [pause]  Can you just tell me an argument?  I'm good at organizing if somebody else thinks up the ideas.

Me:  Part of the assignment is to create your own argument.  You have several topics to choose from, but if I simply give you the argument, neither of us will get to explore your thoughts.

Student:  [huge sigh] I hate thinking.  I just like doing stuff.

"dr. mended_drum don't give a sh!t; she will chew me up like a cobra."
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 22,311

« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2008, 7:13:24 pm »

Student:  [huge sigh] I hate thinking.  I just like doing stuff.

McDonald's has excellent training opportunities for students of this sort, with campuses nationwide.  I'm sure there's one (or more) near you.

It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 6,448

discolor unde auri per ramos aura refulsit.

« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2008, 7:31:41 pm »

At least he's self-aware.

First it was Wolfram and Hart, now it's Blackboard.  There's not much moral difference, if you ask me. -- Malcha

Grammar is the chocolate in the buttery croissant of life.  -- Yellowtractor

Okay, so that was petty.  Today, I feel like embracing pettiness.  -- Mended Drum
Senior member
Posts: 768

« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2008, 8:00:27 pm »

Here's one I had earlier this term.

[Background: This is a student who misses class frequently and did poorly on the midterm exam. I suggested that he try to get an early start on the next homework assignment and then come to office hours for assistance.]

Student: "I can't come to any of your office hours. Can I make an appointment for Wednesday morning?"

Me: "Sorry, I have two classes and a meeting on Wednesday morning. How about Tuesday or Thursday afternoon?"

Student looks terribly disappointed. "What about Wednesday between your classes? I only need about ten minutes."

Me: "Sorry, I'm booked. But I'm free Wednesday after 3:00".

Student, very distressed. "But my last class ends at noon!"

Me: "Wait a minute. I'm confused. If your last class ends at noon, then you should be able to come to my regular office hours on Wednesday afternoon."

Student, looking shocked: "But I go home at noon!"

« Last Edit: November 11, 2008, 8:03:52 pm by atalanta » Logged

the thing that against me is "time", tell me something I could beat time?
Embracing the crazy
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 4,258

« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2008, 8:43:59 pm »

Yes, I get this all the time.  They cannot imagine altering their own schedules.  I got this from a graduate student the other day:

Him:  Can you meet with me to talk about the paper?
Me:  Sure, any chance could you do it right after class on Thursday?
Him:  Hmmm.  Normally I do [XXX language] at that time, but I guess maybe I could skip it...
Me:  Well no, I don't want you skipping class.  Let's find another time.
Him:  No, I don't have class then.  I just normally use that time to do my homework for [XXX language] class.
Me:  [Silence]
Him:  Okay, so I guess Thursday after class works.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2008, 8:44:17 pm by oseph » Logged

Oseph....you are right and you make sense.

For your future comments, I insult very directly.
Senior member
Posts: 368

« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2008, 8:50:31 pm »

Late in the semester...

"Is there anything I can do for extra credit?"

I think you know how the rest of it typically goes.
I often times wish I had bought Grandpa's farm and stayed on the land. Instead I'm an underemployed
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 3,031

Often referred to as an "interesting individual"

« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2008, 8:58:38 pm »

This is better than the "favorite email" thread.

"nothing says headed towards the margins of society like learning the banjo"

Quando omni flunkus moritati
Somewhat Southern (Have I really posted that much?)
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 18,385

Let's get summer over with! Me want snow!

« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2008, 10:07:01 pm »


I've got to get the updates!

...only after reading gm's post, my new mantra is "always listen to gennimom".
Monday reeks! - Garfield
The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person (or something like that).
Embracing the crazy
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 4,258

« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2008, 10:22:06 pm »

30 seconds before afternoon class is scheduled to start:

Student:  Hi, I'm in your morning class too.
Me:  I know.  You're [name].
Student:  Yeah, anyway, I didn't come to class this morning.  What did you talk about?
Me:  A number of things.  You want me to go over everything we talked about right now?
Student:  Well, at least a summary.
Me:  The overall topic was X.  Read the book, and come talk to me if you have specific questions.
Student:  That's it?
Me:  I need to start class now.


Oseph....you are right and you make sense.

For your future comments, I insult very directly.
Posts: 144

« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2008, 10:26:21 pm »

Five days before the midterm exam.

Flaky Student: So what textbook are we supposed to be studying from?
Me: The one assigned for the course.
FS: The big one or the little one?
Me: Huh?
FS: The one with the chapters or the one with the stuff by old people?
Me: Ah... [realizing the student is confused by the bundling of the textbook with a sourcebook we're not actually using...it is a sort-of-fair question, and one I actually answered four times at the beginning of the class]  The longer one, with chapters, is the textbook you've had assignments from all semester.
FS: But it's so loooooong!
Me: *gape*

"All the thoughts of a turtle are turtle."  -Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1862
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