Thursday, February 21, 2008

soap opera update

OK, now this is getting out of hand. Student mentioned in the previous posts e-mailed me last night at 10:45. AsI am an old person (tm) I was asleep. The question was perfectly valid, but I do not have any sort of alert system for e-mails hooked up. damnit, I've acrued enough debt to qualify for this job (jobs) that I deserve at least seven hours each night.

Said student then e-mailed at 7:00 AM to complain that I had not yet amswered the message from last night. At 7:00 AM, as best I recall, I was indulging in a healthy breakfast of leftovers, and e-mail was not the first (or even fourth) thing on my mind at that moment. "Am I really awake?" definitely took up the first fifteen or sixteen priority slots. "Why aren't you answering me? This is your job!"

A good friend of mine left grad school, despite having a GPA off the charts and all sorts of innovative ideas, because dealing with such situations really did not appeal. Wise choice.

(except that I love my job most of the time... addiction?)

9 comments:

Harriet said...

One of the professors I talk to about pedagogical issues offered this advice on the email problem. 1. Never respond right away, or they come to expect it. 2. Consider writing on your syllabus that you will not be available by email between x and x hours of your choosing and that emails sent between those times may not be answered until the next day after the hours have ended. I did both of those things but added in some virtual office hour time in the evening when I knew I'd be on line (this was, in part, because I was so seldom on campus). It worked beautifully. The only time I got panicky, "I need a response right away and it's 11 at night" emails, they were at least extremely apologetic and I was more inclined to be helpful.

permanentquivive said...

Response #1:

"Oh, and are you paid to be an a-hole/a bitch? 'Cause they're obviously paying you well."

Response #2:

"Is it really 7:00 am. I'm not paid to care about you until 10:00."

Eileen said...

What amazes me is not so much that (some!) kids today seem to expect to be coddled and accomodated, as that they don't even seem to be even remotely conscious of the fact that they are exhibiting an extraordinary sense of entitlement.

Wow.

(And in my workplace, we call it "masochistic", not "addicted". But since I know academia has a lot of intangible rewards and gratification, I think "addicted" might be closer for you.)

Jim Wetzel said...

I've never experienced disrespect anywhere close to that from a student. I recommend you kick this individual's rear end so hard that he or she travels at least four doors down the hallway before the first bounce.

There's no excuse for treating anyone that way -- to say nothing of an instructor.

Jeanne said...

I've had students like that. A lot of them don't even realize that their behavior is rude. So helping them learn that a professor is not required to be at their beck and call is just one of the services I offer.

Drewster said...

and of course, if you simply deal with them on your own timetable, maybe they will learn.

I love how e-mail and cell phones make you available "24 hours a day". I don't always answer either. I might be busy with work or a tv show I really want to watch or a Guitar Hero set. Don't assume I am dead because you get my voice mail.

Ron Griggs said...

I've just got to say it: 24 hour availability and response in four hours or less is pretty much the expected norm at your old alma mater, Lemming. From the good students! I've had e-mails at 2:00 a.m. and followup ones at 8:30 a.m. wondering why I haven't responded yet. Oops, wait, that was from a faculty member...

Maybe tech support is different. And I have bathtubs of sympathy. But I'm a little surprised it has taken this long for "always available" culture to get to you.

P.S. Thanks so much for recommending A Candle in Her Room! It is exactly the kind of book I would have read obsessively as a child. One I did re-read was The Horse Marines by Anna Rose Wright.

permanentquivive said...

OK -- as a calm follow up to my above e-mail, I suggest the following. I assume that your institution uses Microsoft Office. Could you not set Outlook to spit back a notice saying "I need my sleep. I won't respond to your e-mail immediately" to any e-mail from xxx@NameOfYourInstitution.edu? If you don't feel comfortable with a blanket response (the Dean may be writing you at that point), put in the names of your current students? A bit labor intensive, but if it's a problem. . . .

Victoria Barrett said...

I have a version of Harriet's advice embedded in my syllabi, plus a required 24-hour lead time. When students give me a hard time for not responding right away, I tell them they're in trouble for procrastinating and needing help at the last minute. They generally apologize for their unreasonable expectations, but probably say really icky things about me behind my back. But I don't have to hear it, so I'm happy.