I teach a lab. It's an intro lab, and the way it's set up it meets once a week, there's no final, but weekly quizzes. Which means, if you miss 2 or more labs w/o making them up, you're out. That's it. I drop you. No sympathy. No second chances (you already had 2 with the 2 misses) no sob story will save you. Even if your second miss is the second to last week of the semester (happened last semester). Yup, I'm a hard-ass. Or learning to be.
But it really sucks!
Take today for example. Today was week 3, thus lab 3. A nice enough looking young girl comes in late, during the quiz. She sits down and I think she doesn't look familiar......but am trying to figure out (still learning the kiddos) when she whispers that she wasn't here last week (due to the holiday, labs 1 and 2 were taught last week together - they're short). I inform her that then she was dropped. (I dropped those who did not come the first week...they had missed their 2, unfortunately for them). We check my roster - yup, dropped. We chat a little and I tell her that there's nothing to do for it. She missed 2 labs. She insists she only missed one. I explain the deal with the holiday throwing things off, and that she did, in fact, miss 2. Which means she cannot join now. She insists she didn't know. Yeah......but that doesn't change the rule. She tells me that she needs this class. (amazing how they always do, this is the ONE class that will ruin their lives if they can't take it RIGHT NOW) I tell her I can't do anything, but she should stay in the lecture and take the lab next semester. Well, she can't do that...she wants to transfer next semester. (that is AMAZINGLY common for the folk who are trying to get in late...I just don't understand it) I tell her, finally, that she can go talk to my supervisor about her other options, but she cannot join my class.
I feel pretty good that I handled it well. Kindly but firmly.
Apparently not firm enough.
She came back 1o minutes later. This time lab was in full swing, so we stepped into the prep room. Where she informed me that her Grandma had died last week, that's why she hadn't contacted me. (the poor Grandma's of the world! they do have such ODD timing, don't they?) And that my supervisor had said it was UP TO ME if she could take the class or not. Oh, mercy me. Thanks Supervisor. I tell her it can't be done. She's missed the 2 classes, the policy is clear. She pleads. There are tears in her eyes. I feel like a Royal Ass. She wants to know if I can find it in my heart...she'll do anything! All the homework (there is none) - make up any of the labs (that's impossible, they're already over, make-ups can only happen the week of) ANYTHING!!!!! Sigh. So, like a Royal Ass, I told her I couldn't do it. I had to be consistent and as I'd dropped someone at the END of last semester for missing 2, I couldn't let her join the class late after missing 2. She walked, oh so sadly away.
And I truly felt like shit. But then...I started thinking about it. Really? How can she put ME in that position? Making me feel like a terrible person...when she really needed to be more responsible. And after missing 2 labs the best she could get was a D. And that's if she did the rest perfectly. And seriously? There's a strict policy for a reason. If I let every Sally Sob-Story slide past that...I'm going to spend all my time fielding sob stories. It'd be a 3 ring circus. But I still felt bad.
Then. Later, at the end of lab, another student who hadn't looked familiar...wanted to know how he could make up the first 2 labs. Oh schnikey. You mean to say you haven't been here before? And you just did this whole lab and NOW you ask me? Oy vey.
I didn't add him either. He was pretty pissed. I felt a little bad.
But now I'm just feeling proud that I stood up for myself and the policy. I used to be such a push-over and it always created more work, headaches, and problems for me in the end.
What's that you say? What if it was my kid? Well, if it was my kid, I'd hope that they'd figured out by now how to be responsible. And show up on the first day of class. And contact the instructor if for some reason that's really not possible. Not show up 3 weeks in expecting to be accommodated. Because really? That's not fair to the 99% of the class that's been showing up and following the rules. And I'm all about following the rules.