Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Oh, and Now the Fun Begins

Today, I had TWO students emailing me a) to inform me that they would be missing class (although I specifically write on the syllabus NOT to do so) and b) to ask me to tell them what we missed. Neither student is doing that well - the first because he's had some legitimate medical issues this semester, the second because she just doesn't give a shit about the course and doesn't want to learn anything (or at least that is my perception).

I responded, basically,

Dear Student,
What we will be covering in class is listed on your syllabus (as it has been for every other class meeting of the semester).
Dr. Crazy

What I did not respond to in the second of the two above emails was the following:

1) The (Doesn't Give a Shit) student making demands about meeting with me on Thursday (I've said she should do this throughout the semester) - and, of course, it HAS to be Thursday because she's got a paper due for me on Tuesday. I really can't meet with her at her convenience on that day, and so I suggested that perhaps Monday might work for me. So I guess I responded, but I responded in a pretty unhelpful fashion, or at least I will suspect she will interpret it as such.
2) The fact that she called me "Ms. Crazy." Motherfucker. I write Dr. on my syllabus. I introduce myself as Dr. Other students call me Dr. Don't fucking Ms. me!!!! I hate it!!!! I did not go to school for all those years and get into all of that debt to be called other than Professor or Dr.!!!! (Though I suppose it at least wasn't "Mrs." That might have made my head explode.)

What I did not respond to in an email from one of my advisees was the following (an advisee I've yet to meet, by the way):

"Hello Firstname"

I don't care who you are, but unless I tell you that you can call me by my first name, it's Dr. Crazy to you. Especially when I've signed a previous email to you as Dr. Crazy. Not as Firstname. Because you know what, Advisee-whom-I've-never-met? I do not want you calling me "Firstname." But I didn't go off on some diatribe. I just signed my name - pointedly - as Dr. Crazy. If he doesn't get the hint, I suspect he'll call me Firstname in person, in which case I'll tell him that it is my preference that he not call me that.

Dude. Just call me Dr. Crazy. It's not that hard. And don't ask me to tell you what we're covering in class. It's on the syllabus. If you want more detail than that, COME TO CLASS! Ugh.


Seeking Solace said...

I hate it when students think they can address you by your first name, like we are friends or something. You earned the right to use Dr, so they shoudl address you as Dr.

BTW, I had the same thing today with a student who caught me on my way out. She said "I was absent this morning, what did I miss?" I wanted to say "We did nothing today becasue you were not here!" One of these days I should try that, just to see what would happen!

ceresina said...

Hi -- Delurking to ask if you maybe put the wrong signature in your quoted e-mail? (I mean here on the blog.)

Anastasia said...

was going to say the same thing as ceresina....

Dr. Crazy said...

Even those with secret identities sometimes screw up :) Thanks for the heads up, my peeps!

(The sad thing is I didn't actually quote the email - I typed that mistake. Clearly it's been one of those days. Ah well, it's not like I'm that protective of my pseudonymity anyway, and maybe not that many people have been here in the past, oh, 4 hours.... sigh. It's hard to be Dr. Crazy.)

Addy N. said...

Hey Dr. Crazy: I missed your super-secret identity today, but it's kind of funny, because 1) I just did a blog post about annoying student emails and 2) I am really tired, so I have re-read it about 10 times to make sure that I didn't accidentally leave my name in!

g said...

What a co-incidence! This was the exact topic in my "new fac" circle this month! Our moderators (experienced profs) were saying that email has really made it

a. easier for students to intrude
b. easier for them to be more demanding about responses
c. and also easier for students to say hurtful/rude things to profs. They are able to get away with saying things that they wouldnt have the guts to say in person!

About the forms of addressing profs....I have even had "lastname: I missed....." I couldnt believe you would address anyone like they were your military cadet to push around!

Dr. Virago said...

Can I just say that I let my head explode over a "Mrs. Virago" incident -- I ripped the kid a new one in my e-mail response, in part because the salutation preceded a total lie about why he hadn't been in class the first two weeks of the semester. The combination of condescension and mendacity made my blood boil.

The "Mrs./Ms." thing would be one thing coming from freshman who don't anyone who's gone to college (many, many of our students, and, I suspect, yours) but this dude was a junior. Time to know better. (Warning...side rant: And people, please: if you're majoring in a subject, take a few moments to go to the department website and read about the faculty and their qualifications. Sheesh. The web makes it all very simple these days to get that kind of the information -- try using it for that purpose instead of thinking it's for "research.")

So anyway, I think I wrote something like this in the e-mail: "Mrs. Virago is my mother. Always address your instructors as either Professor or Doctor, unless they tell you otherwise. And if you were to meet me in a context outside of the university, I'd be *Ms.* Virago. Don't assume you know my marital status or that I wish to be defined by it."

Oy vey.

And I'm going to try Seeking Solace's smart-ass response to "what did I miss?" Too funny!

ZaPaper said...

A question related to first and last naming: does anyone any thoughts about the opposite problem? Which is to say, I am a graduate student and my very stern and intimidating advisor, whom I've always addressed as "Professor [Lastname]" made it known to our graduate student community that we may call him by his first name. But I just can't do it! It feels all wrong. So when I write him e-mail, I still address it to "Professor [Lastname]". Is that horrible? If you were in that situation, would you be offended? Perhaps I should pretend I didn't get the memo? But he always signs his e-mails "Firstname." Argh, what to do?