Still a couple of weeks to go

>> Tuesday, August 25, 2009

attendance chart
I don't start back to school until the week of September 8 this year. Normally I would be chomping at the bit to get going - but this year, I'm SO glad for the delay - there is still a whole bunch of stuff we need to get done at the new house - and I still have one assignment outstanding - so I can use the extra time.

Stephanie's blog on Ask Me Anything got me thinking about attendance - and specifically about how very different my attitude toward it is now that I'm doing the university thing as opposed to the community college thing.

When I was in college - especially the second time when I took computer programmer analyst - I really was not so concerned about attendance. I went the first week -but after that, I only went to those classes where I felt I was getting something out of them.

If I could do the work from the textbook or whatever - and do it well, then I just didn't bother to go.

If the prof was interesting and provided a lot of extras that weren't in the text - or if I needed help with something - I would be there for sure. But otherwise.... meh...

If the prof was an anal jerk that demanded attendance I might go regularly - but OH did I ever resent that.

And if the prof was just a jerk but didn't demand attendance, I would show up for the tests and that would be about it.

One particular prof comes to mind. He did not have an attendance policy included in the syllabus - and he was THE SINGLE BIGGEST JERK of a prof I have ever had.

He liked to make people look & feel stOOpid - and was just oh so full of himself.

During the second class, he asked a question that was loaded - no matter how one answered it, it was clear that he was going to say "no, I meant..." .... and there was no way a straight forward answer was going to be right.

No one would answer it at all - until he called and me and I responded "Well, if you mean this, then.... but if you mean that, then...." He became visibly irked, a few people tittered in the back and he YELLED at the entire class to SHUT UP!! as if we were 5 years old.

I left and didn't bother to go back - except on test days when I would show up, hand in whatever assignment was due, write the test, and leave again.

That also irked him - big time - and by the second test, he was writing questions in such a way that if you had not been to class, you would get an automatic zero - even if you knew the correct answers which I did.

In our class discussion, which of the following did we decide.... automatic zero for anyone (meaning me) who did not come to class. Did I mention he was a jerk?

Anyway - I managed to aggravate him no end.

On the day of the second test, when I showed up, he said

"What are you doing here? I thought you had dropped the class."

I replied that no, I was going to complete the course.

"Then why don't you come to class?"

He didn't much like my answer: "Because you are an arrogant son of a bitch and I don't like you."

Shouldn't ask the question if you don't want to hear the answer.

I sure do wish that I could have been there when he marked my final business plan. He burned me repeatedly on the tests, giving me zeros for questions that I had absolutely right. And I have no doubt whatsoever that he was fully prepared to burn me on my business plan as well.

BUT I write well..... and part of the instructions for the project were to show your plan to 2 people and have them write a letter of support for the plan.

I chose to ask his boss for one of those letters.

I ended up with an 84% on the course - in spite of those damn zeros. Bet it killed him to give it to me too. I often wish that he hadn't left the college at the end of that semester - it would amuse me to run into him at faculty functions now that I teach there.

Anyway, while my attendance during college was not great (unless I happened to like the course and the prof) - I have done everything in my power not to EVER miss any of my classes now that I'm in university.

I have had to miss a few - when I my mother in law was ill and then died - and again when I had my car accident - but I hate to miss any of them as a rule.

It's different now. I'm not just learning to master specific tasks - I'm learning new ways of thinking, of approaching texts, of interacting and especially, of teaching.

My time in classes is well-spent. And I don't begrudge it at all. Of course, some profs are still significantly better than others at engaging my interest and teaching me what I want to know - but now that I am on the path to becoming a university prof myself, even the worst of them have lots to teach me - mostly about what not to do when it is my turn!


  • Stephanie B

    I feel for you. I hate teachers like that.

    I respect what you're doing and what you're learning. But I'm glad I don't have to sit in class every day any more and that's a fact.

  • Sharon

    I'm going back to college to finally finish my BA degree. I'm 62 years old. I started a few years ago, but I am determined that this time I'll beg on street corners for the money if I have to. Only have about 5 more classes. Wish me luck!

  • Phyl

    I'm not surprised you're content just to let the school year start when it starts. It's hardly as though you had any time off in the summer, is it?

    Re: attendance, I always loved when the material was interesting and/or the prof was good, and I never minded going to class. I skipped a few classes, but I really liked to get the information. (And I still have it all, in my notebooks that I've never gotten rid of.)

    I had one Russian language prof, though, who was a bullying pig. And I remember one day that was the straw that broke the camel's back, when he did something really demeaning to us. It was near the beginning of the class that day, and I stood up, said, "This is garbage," and walked out.

    It was past the date when we could drop the course without getting an F, so I deliberately never went back and gladly took the F. I knew he knew why I did it, and I knew he hated it. It was one of the best grades I ever got, and I've never regretted it.

  • Reena

    I love the article. When you're finished, just remember not to be that arrogant SOB. I wish that professor could read your blog post.

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