Sunday, April 7, 2013

Accepting Students' Late Work

I do not accept late work from students. I don't grant extensions and will only accept late work if a student has a provable excuse, otherwise everyone suddenly has car/work/printer/dead-grandparent-for-the-10th-time/sick-goldfish-ran-away-to-Mexico problems. And only on days that assignments are due.

I've also learned that if I don't require students to bring their assignments within the first 5 minutes of class, a good portion (half or more) of the class will trickle in throughout the class because they decide to spend class time working on the assignment they've had weeks to work on.

After the first time they oversleep or have other problems and try to e-mail me their papers (which I also don't accept, by the way) do they realize how serious I am about not accepting late work. I don't have the mental capacity to keep track of whose paper will be handed in when, otherwise. Yet it's still amazing that students will say, "I know you said this, but my kid was in the hospital, as I told you before, and I had come right from the hospital." To which my (probably unkind) response is, "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear he's still not feeling well. Could you get a nurse or someone at the hospital to write me a note with verifiable information, or bring in an admittance slip that shows he's still in the hospital? I can provide a fax number if that would help." And I will almost never hear anything in response. Which makes me wonder if the folks are actually trying to use a sick kid as an excuse to hand in late work.

Those who have actual problems will be in touch with me ahead of time, or - as in the case of one student I had - actually be able to provide the necessary information. I have no problems working with students if something comes up - and I try to stress that I absolutely know that sometimes things actually do come up. That if they'd like my cell phone number just in case, I'll be happy to provide that to them, especially if they don't have a smart phone and can't or don't want to e-mail me.

I don't accept late work because I need to be able to move on to the next assignment. I don't have the mental capabilities to keep track of who handed in which assignment when. And not for nothing, but If I don't have a strict deadline, students will hand in all their work on the last day of class, which is a nightmare for both me (because I suddenly have a lot more grading to do at a time when I have grade submittal deadlines) and the students (who have a lot of end-of-semester projects due and can't find time to do it all). I don't want to get chewed out for not submitting my grades on time because a student didn't submit her work on time.

(I will admit that last semester, I thought I had submitted all my grades on time. There was one student whose grade for some reason didn't go through, probably because I skipped it and didn't realize it.)

Many of my students will have jobs and careers that are much more relaxed about deadlines, but many of them won't. My younger students may not have encountered a variety of boss and job types that might include strict deadlines, although my older students probably would have - and I never get a complaint from the older students. Occasionally I'll get an e-mail from a student, after an assignment was due, telling me of a situation, but if that e-mail is from an older student, there almost always an acknowledgement that they know I don't accept late work and would accept the consequences. It's the younger, more inexperienced students who haven't encountered this before.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Questioning Religion and Faith

In reading an article in which gendered participation in the LDS church organization structure was being questioned, a few reservations really resonated with me: 
"Are we really going to let wondering become a red flag of lack of faith? Are we going to deny any give and take, any room for struggle, for doubt, for weakness, for pain, which often are the tools that bring us to more solid testimonial foundations that we started on?"
I was reminded of a German woman I wound up defriending from my social networks. Raised an atheist, she become an agnostic before converting first to Protestant Christianity and ultimately to Catholicism. She publicly derided me for blogging about the issues in the Catholic church, issues with which I continue to struggle and have disagreed with for years, because, in her mind, one follows the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic church without question. The Church had declared something to be so; therefore, my job was to accept it. My reasons for blogging, which included the mental clarity that blogging provided, were tantamount to blasphemy.

I tried explaining that my blogging helps clarify the issues, that blogging helps me ascertain what I really think and feel, and that it helps be gain some perspective, but she was having none of it. I finally removed her from my FaceBook feed because while I can appreciate being disagreed with, the manner in which I conduct myself within my faith is no one's business - with the exception of my priest - and I no longer wanted to put myself in a position in which I was publicly taken to task for voicing my own struggles.

I've been a Catholic my entire life, and I don't think that's likely to change anytime soon. She seemed incapable of having a calm discussion about differences of opinion and interpretation, and the manner in which one accepts one's version of the truth. I don't have much room for such attitudes in my life.

Adoption Stress

Apparently there is such as a thing as post-adoption depression, which can be as crippling as postpartum:
A March 2012 Purdue University study suggests that between 18 and 26 percent of adoptive mothers struggle with post-adoption depression, brought on by extreme fatigue, unrealistic expectations of parenthood or a lack of community support. 
In the course of interviewing some 300 women who’d adopted one or more children in the prior two years, Karen J. Foli, an assistant professor of nursing at Purdue, says that she and her team—including Susan South and Eunjung Lim—began examining societal assumptions about adoptive parents. Among them: the belief that the mother who doesn’t carry a child for nine months or doesn’t go through labor does not require as much help after the child comes home, does not need respite care, or someone to unload the dishwasher, or a few casseroles in the freezer.
Among the issues any new mother faces, whether she's adopted the child or physically given birth, is that expectations and exhaustion can lead to post-adoption stress, although there is uncertainty as to whether:
fatigue is a symptom of the depression or if it the parenting experience that is the source of the fatigue. It may also be reflective of a lacking social support that adoptive parents receive. However, a common thread of [the research] has been an assumption that if the mom didn't carry the child for nine months or go through a physical labor, the parents don't need help in the same manner as birth mothers do.
Now I can worry about not only this, but worry about receiving a complete lack of support because I probably won't physically give birth to a child.