Tuesday, February 06, 2007

be a good example to your students

Word to the wise: if you have a 9:40am class, don't wake up at 8:00am, turn off your clock's alarm, fall back asleep, scream "SHIT!" after waking up again at 9:30am, rush into the bathroom, shakily slap in your contact lenses, swirl some mouthwash around for five seconds instead of brushing your teeth, yank on some clothes without showering or shaving, gallumph across the street to your class, stinky as hell, and arrive seven minutes late. Not a good way to start your day, especially after having spent most of the semester chiding students for traipsing in late.

Like most of my colleagues, I follow the Five Minute Rule: if you're late up to five minutes, I don't mark you as tardy. Today, I violated that rule myself. The latest I've ever been was ten minutes (during my first year at Smoo), and that was a one-time occurrence. I don't have a habit of being late to class (though I'm annoyingly lax when it comes to meeting up with friends*), so it bothers me when it happens. Luckily, it doesn't happen often.

One colleague tried to reassure me when I rushed into the office and explained my situation. "Oh, the students never mind when the teacher's late," she said. I'm sure that's true in many universities, but at Smoo, things are different: I've had the chance to flip through other teachers' evaluation forms (they're posted on a wall by the main office for everyone to see), and I've seen student comments about other teachers: "always late" or "often late" has been written on a couple of them. I don't ever want to see that comment on a form of mine. I've had a clean record thus far, and want to keep it that way.

*I have friends in the States who are, in my opinion, far too Swiss about meeting on time for a friendly get-together. I understand the idea that "time's a-wastin'," but I can't bring myself to think of hanging out in the same way I think about being "on the clock." So I apologize to all and sundry, but I also wish they'd loosen up. If a friend tells me s/he's going to be late, I don't mind, because a get-together isn't a business meeting. I don't think "my valuable time is being squandered" or that "I've got better things to do than wait." We should save our petty neuroses for our enemies. Heh.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like you, I'm very strict about tardiness in my class. After 1 minute you are late. Okay maybe I'm stricter than you. But in the end it works because I have very few late students.

It is common to hear from teachers that there's no need to be on time because your students will be late. However I feel that students will achieve the standard that you set for them, especially if you lead by example.

I've come close to being late once, but fortunately the taxi I caught that morning was driven by an ex-indy500 driver and traffic was light.