1) I have never been on Rate My Professors before - at all the schools I've taught at over the years. I just saw that I've finally popped up at the Dream Academy....and I have a single blue frowny face!! What the f**k??? It's from last December and for some reason it says that the comment is still under review. Why so long? Did they say horrible things that need to be censored? Now I feel like I have to justify the fact that I am a good teacher to everyone. I *know* this is just a stupid website, but none of my other junior colleagues has a frowny face. I feel annoyed and slightly hurt. On my evals from last semester I got only Very Goods and Excellents. This must have been some spiteful little insect who got a bad grade. In fact, I'm morally certain I know who it was. This self-indulgent little boy who threw a temper tantrum in the final exam because I wouldn't tell him how to answer one of the essay questions. After I'd already turned the grade in and (barely) passed him for the class, he started writing these nasty emails about how frustrated he was during the final exam, how I was unfair and awful, etc. The comment on RMP was entered in the day of the final exam for that class. That little punk. Actually, I feel better knowing that it was almost certainly him. But why is the comment still "under review" almost 5 months later? EEK.
2) I am reading thesis statements for my undergrad class and I've already found plagiarism. In their thesis statements!!! I'm a big fan of the several sentence thesis mini-paragraph and so I've given the class instructions on how to construct a thesis. Most of them aren't bad, I must say. But then I saw the tell-tale "cut-and-pasted-from-the-internet-quotation-marks" and I knew I'd caught one. She had taken swathes of her mini-paragraph from some free term paper website; and the rest she'd cut and pasted from a 1991 published journal article that the author had put online! I'm going to report her and fail her for the assignment. I'm debating whether or not to fail her for the entire paper. If I hadn't caught the plagiarism, I have no doubt she would have turned in an entire plagiarized paper - my Chair agrees.
3) I've also recently failed 2 students for my course because they didn't bother to show up for the last exam. Now, I know I'm sounding like a total hardass lately and I really am usually not that bad. But, here's the situation. I have 39 students. On the syllabus, it says that all coursework (excluding quizzes) must be completed in order for the student to pass the class. That means 3 exams and a paper. Okay. I also have a policy that if you have to miss an exam or something after your first 3 free absences, that you have to bring a doctor's note with the date of the exam or missed class on it that says that the student was too sick to come to the exam or class that day. Seems reasonable, no? Okay. I give an exam and 2 students don't show up. Back to the office and no emails explaining why, nothing. So, I email them (this is a Thursday) and ask if everything's all right because they didn't show up for the test. Nothing. No response. Finally, SUNDAY, one of the kids decides to email me a one line email - no greeting, no "I'm really sorry", no signature: "I didn't know we had an exam and I overslept. How can I make this up?"
So, I emailed back and said, "Sorry, I don't give make-up exams for students who oversleep. We talked about the exam in the previous class, which you attended, and the exam is listed on the syllabus. Therefore, you will get a zero. And this brings us to another problem. The course policy is that all work must be completed in order to pass. So, you'll be failing the class." Now, I personally don't think my policies are that frickin' strict or unreasonable. If this kid had gotten up at 2pm or whatever time he'd rolled out of bed, gone to the doctor with a trumped up illness and gotten a note, I WOULD HAVE ACCEPTED IT AND GIVEN HIM A MAKE-UP!! He didn't even bother to email me back for 4 days and then dropped this condescending, totally above it all email into my lap, expecting me to accommodate him. F**K THAT!
(for those of you who can't tell, I'm working myself into a frothing-frenzy of annoyance and righteous indignation).
Then I get a final snide response from him saying: "Well, that was a total waste of 20 hours of my life."
(Breathe, MW, breathe.....*seething*....*seething*.....)
The girl who didn't show up never emailed me back and came to class the next week and said that she'd been "really out of it". I asked if she'd been sick and if she went to see the doctor? "No," she says, "but my roommate gave me strep throat." I said, "Did you go get antibiotics for it?" "No." "Then you didn't have strep throat. You'd be running a horrible fever right now, not be able to swallow, and wouldn't be standing here telling me you were 'out of it'." So, I told her the bad news and she just hasn't showed up since.
If I'm going to have class policies, I have to enforce them, yes? Also, my policies are CARBON COPIES of at least 10 of my other colleagues! These students all just think the rules do not apply to them and they're dumbfounded when they realize that, yes, indeed, they do.
ARGH! I feel lately like I'm having to justify my teaching constantly.
And all I have is a single blue frowny face.
For giving an exam that "upset and demoralized" the student (and that's a direct quote).