I know that there are some academic types who read this blog. I'd like your perspective on an issue that's been turning over in my mind. It has to do with how professors deal with students.
My colleague across the hall -- let's call her Dr. J -- will telephone students who have been missing from her class and tell them to get their act in gear. I would never do that. About the closest I've ever come is e-mailing a student who has been missing for a month to remind them about the approaching drop deadline.
Dr. J also asks questions of her students that I would never think to ask. She asks how many hours they work, how they arrange their schedules, how many credits they are carrying. And if she doesn't like the answers, she'll tell them. "I don't think you will be able to pass this course unless you drop some activity." The other day she was telling me about telling a student that he should be taking notes in her class.
All this, for me, comes firmly under the heading of None Of My Business. I honestly wouldn't even notice who is taking notes. I don't worry about people's work schedules or their other courses. I assume that they are old enough to make choices, and if they make poor ones, they will fail. When a student brings it up -- "I've been working 40 hours a week lately and I'm carrying 18 credits, so I couldn't make it you your class." -- I listen sympathetically, but pretty much hold them to my expectations. Too bad, so sad. When you repeat this course, you'll have to make more time for it.
So, what do you think? Am I a hardass? Is Dr. J coddling her students? Or are we just different points along a spectrum of valid approaches to students? Or what?
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