It is panic season. With the wonky academic scheduling, there are only two classes left -- the Tuesdays before and after Thanksgiving. Then finals. Then...life.
Right about now you start to wonder how you'll grade all those research papers. Two classes --one with 22, one with 64. Why did you assign such long papers? At least a half-hour per to read, mark and figure out the grade. Shoot me now.
Right about now the worst students go into full-on breakdown mode. The dreaded emails arrive, always leading with chilling words: "Can I schedule a meeting with you...?"
After four months they finally have awakened to the fact that failing is no longer an option. It's a certainty.
Warned a few weeks into the term that they should drop the course because they're already behind, they stubbornly dig in their Ugg-shod heels and swear they'll catch up. But they don't. They come to class and doze. They shrug off deadlines and skip exams. They just shuffle slower and slower toward the inevitable.
What can I do to pass this class?
Invent a time machine, set it for mid-August and start all over. That's about the size of it, kiddo.
I had a lot of problems this semester. I'm seeing three counselors. I'm on medication. My asthma. My peanut allergy. My colon. My migraines. My parents. My boyfriend. My girlfriend. My roommate.
The excuses blend into a chorus of desperation. Sung in a minor key.
If I don't pass this class, I have to stay another year! If I don't get a B, I'll lose my scholarship!
You steel yourself against them. Rules are rules. You read my syllabus. You had the schedule. There are no makeup exams. There is no extra credit. You cannot do another paper.
My group kicked me off the project. I had a car accident over the weekend. My computer got fried. My backpack was stolen.
And inside your head, bees swarm.