Friday, December 14, 2012

I am Not My Husband's Secretary

Students have been repeatedly stopping by my office, interrupting my work, and asking me about the whereabouts of my husband.

How in the world should I know where he is? I am at work!

It has become so bad (3x in less than one hour the other day) that I had to post a sign on my husband's office door. It said: "Dr. JP does not know where Dr. Mr. JP is. Thanks, Management."

I had a particularly aggravating exchange with a student recently. I am sure I was PMSing, but, hey, it happens. The students asked me where Mr. JP was. I said, "I am not his secretary." The student said nothing and just stared. I added, "Why don't you go ask some other faculty member where Mr. JP is." The student continued to stare. I said, "And why are you asking me where he is? Is there a particular reason?" The student apologized and promptly left.

And no, students do not ask my husband where I am. Perhaps I am more present? Or perhaps he is more intimidating. Draw your own conclusions.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Students Crying In My Office

Every semester, I have students crying in my office about their grades. I find the whole situation very awkward and I am not sure of the best way of handling it. I have asked older colleagues and they express surprise that students would cry in front of me. Because, after all, students do not cry in front of them.

I am not a particularly easy or harsh grader - my average GPA is in line with most faculty. So then why do students feel compelled to cry and tell me all about their personal situations that led up to their bad grades and how they are going to get kicked out of school? Surely, it isn't my class alone that is going to kick them out. They must have failed several other courses leading up to mine. So how is that I get the tears?

I usually handle this on a case by case basis, trying to find a discreet way to get the student out of my office without a scene. Not once have tears convinced me to change someone's grade. I see so much crying from my own two biological children that I am not very swayed by adult tears over grades.

I am interested in learning how others handle the crying student.