Too Hard? Too Bad.

At my last job, I had the reputation of being the hard ass in the department. Somebody missed a meeting? Warning letter. A student didn’t complete a sanction on time? Off to judicial. Professors hand out zeros for late assignments all the time. A deadline is a deadline and in this day and age there are thousands of devices that can beep and ding at you to remind you of them. Not to mention good old fashioned pen and paper.

I haven’t gotten much nicer since coming to my current job. At the moment, I’m waiting for TWO students that missed appointments. Yes, the department secretary accidentally double booked me and BOTH missed their appointments. One was an RA. I’m currently trying to thing of a sanction/about to dig through the dusty RA manual to see if there’s one already listed.

So many times my co-workers say things along the lines of, “Well…have you tried calling him/her? Did you send a reminder?” I’m not an alarm clock. I’m not going to call and remind little Susie to come down for her meeting. Some of these students are seniors…they are about to go into the “real world” where I’m pretty sure their bosses won’t be playing mommy and reminding them of every little thing.

I don’t mean to sound like a complete grinch. If people come to me with acceptable reasons, I talk through things with them. I’m even rather soft about things some of my co-workers won’t budge on. For example, one of my RAs came to me three months in advance saying she had to miss a staff meeting because she had a dress rehearsal for her play scheduled. A lot of my co-workers don’t think that’s a good reason to miss a meeting. I knew that the play meant a lot to this RA and was happy that she had let me know FAR in advance. I let my RAs and the students I work with that I would much rather hear about something sooner than later.

I compare this to an experience I had with a professor in undergrad. She was known for being a real you-know-what. My friends told me stories of her giving zeros for assignments not for being a day late, but because the student was five minutes late on the day it was due. When I got my syllabus, I noticed that there was a project due the week of a major sorority event that I was the chairperson for. The syllabus also said the project description wasn’t going to be distributed until later in the semester on a specific day. I spent the next two days working up the nerve to ask to get the assignment description a week early so I could turn in my project a week early but still have the same amount of time as the other students. That seemed fair. When I met with my professor, she said that I would get the assignment the same day as the other students BUT she would give me an extra week to turn in it. She said that she had never had somebody come up to her so far in advance and that’s why she was willing to give me the time to complete it without being stressed out.

Sorry if any of that seemed a bit rant-y. What are some sanctions that you use with students/student workers?

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