After we turn in our grades — long after, in my case — we get our student evaluations. I wish the students filled them out after the exam: it would more fairly represent what I’m doing. But instead the administration has them fill them in about 2/3 of the way through the semester, just when they are most anxious.
I got mine today. Like every year I get dinged for talking too fast — but it’s genetic. And I do tell the students to stop me if I go too fast. The best ones do.
This year, unusually, I got substantial amounts of hostility for part of my class policies. You see, I require that all male students come to class in a coat and tie, and female students must wear comparable professional attire. Students must address me as “sir” and each other as “my esteemed colleague” or words to that effect. No one — other than me, of course — is allowed to talk for more than one minute. No one is allowed to miss more than one week’s worth of classes without an excuse from the Dean of Student’s Office; miss more than that and it counts as negative class participation and can hurt your grade. Anyone who is late is marked as having half an absence, so more than six latenesses can hurt your grade.
Ok, I’m kidding. Actually, the only parts of the above paragraph that are true are the parts about being late and missing class. And the part about the hostility this policy engendered. Yes, I take attendance, in part because the ABA rules say that by turning in a grade I’m certifying that my students went to class. (And as the Dean of Students will write an excuse for just about anything, the true sanction, for people with a minimum of common sense, is the minor hassle of getting a form filled out and signed.)
I penalize lateness because late people disturb others, disturb me, and likely have unprofessional habits that could use some push back. I used not to penalize latenesses, and students just drifted in in droves during the first 10-15 minutes of class. (Then they complained they couldn’t follow what was going on….) I had ten people out of 60 come in late one day. It was ridiculous.
So while I want to be sympathetic to student concerns, and might even experimentally lower the tariff next year to, say, lateness equals 1/3 of an absence, I just don’t see why expecting people to be on time, and incentivizing them a little, is such a terrible thing.
Am I hopelessly behind the times here?