Thursday, October 07, 2004

You are Not a Hero

[New Kid's recent post on James Waite's First Person column and "academic boozing" reminded me to blog on this related topic.]

At least once a semester, I get the following excuse from a student, who, so far, always happens to be female:

"Sorry I had to miss class. We celebrated my roommate's 21st birthday last night and, you know, I had to take care of her. [Giggle.] We were up all night in the E.R."

The student will smile conspiratorily as she tells me this. She is certain that she has been a hero, and glad for the chance to tell her professor about it. She is confident that the professor will praise her for her responsibility, her noble self-sacrifice.

What I'm thinking is: "How could you be so stupid? You are NOT a hero. You are not even a friend. What kind of person lets her friend drink so much that she has to be hospitalized? What kind of stupid students drink to that kind of excess on a Wednesday night? (Or on any night of the week?) And what kind of f*cked up logic were you using when you decided that an alcohol-induced health crisis constitutes a normal and even meaningful reason for missing my class?"

What comes out of my mouth is: "Okay, well, I'm glad your roommate survived. Keep track of your absences, because they detract from your final grade."


At 11:24 PM, Blogger What Now? said...

Back when she was doing the TA thing, my partner D. had a great response to these excuses when students were trying to get out of course work or deadlines or exams. She'd say, "Good for you for taking your friend to the hospital [or whatever else the excuse was]. It sounds like you're a really good friend, one who sacrifices your own grade for your friend's well-being. It sounds like your values are very clear, and I applaud you for your sacrifice."

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Kingmob said...

Logic seems to disappear, along with every other rational thought, right after the second shot.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger New Kid on the Hallway said...

Oy. What indeed does one say to this? Thankfully I think I'm scary looking enough (or look enough like an old fogey who's never drunk in her life, except possibly a demure glass of sherry every now and then) that students don't share such stories with me. Eeeessh.


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