I’m sick because of course I am. I had my flu shot back in October. In early December I came down with something. I presume a bad cold because I wasn’t supposed to get the flu. I thought I was done being sick for the season, then last Tuesday I came down with another cold, I presume. Tuesday was that “Oh Crap!” day when I knew I was getting sick. Wednesday was miserable, Thursday even more so. I started my rebound on Friday and consider myself just fine now save for the congestion stuck in my throat that sporadically causes coughing fits. I just have one lecture tomorrow morning. I hope my voice is recovered enough by then. Sigh I tell my students at the beginning of the semester, “Don’t come to school if your sick!” Then a few weeks later, I look out into the rows, and I see at least one student with snot flowing out his nose like a waterfall. I might just have to start teaching while wearing a medical mask.
Speaking of aggravating students, there’s always one who makes me want to punt his head of his neck. This semester, it’s a fellow I’ll call Mo. Mo looks to be an older student, at least in his 30s, but he could be in his 40s (I’m not good at estimating age). I registered for the course late, I don’t mean within the drop/add period. He had the program chair email the dean, and the two of them email registration to get him in my class after the add date. He starts attending class by the second week, but he doesn’t have his books or his online account set up until the third week. In other words, he’s missed the deadlines for the first two chapters’ homework assignments. My policy is basically to drop the lowest two homework assignments, so his missed work won’t hurt his grade, so long as he completed the remaining five chapter assignments.
Last week, he sends me an email asking me if I would extend the deadlines for chapter 1 & 2 over this weekend. I respond that I can’t because doing so early on would set a bad precedent and encourage some students to neglect doing their homework under the notion that I might extend those deadlines, too. A couple of days later, he’s bold enough to come to my office to beg for an extension again.
He’s the type of manipulator who tries to beat you into submission by telling you his life story. He explains to me that he couldn’t get access to his online account, and that he couldn’t get access to the online account for his math class, but now he can, and he knows I have rules but if I’ll just reopen the chapters 1 & 2 homework assignments for this weekend, he’ll definitely complete them because he wants to save his two dropped assignments for later in the semester. I tell him I can’t, and he repeats the same points above, including the access to his math class. I’m thinking to myself:
- Why are you telling me about your math class. My only concern is the class I teach.
- “I know you have rules for the deadlines, but…” but I should just through them out and undermine my authority for your convenience, eh?
Perhaps the biggest rule regarding student-teacher interactions is that I have to be consistent. I can’t show or be perceived as showing favoritism. I can’t extend one student’s homework deadline without doing so for the entire class, for instance, save in extraordinary circumstances (serious illness and/or injury, etc.). I’m also a smuck. I don’t want to grant the entire class an extension, but if I don’t, Mo is definitely the type to keep coming back until he gets his way. I reason it might be better to give Mo enough rope to hang himself, so I extend the chapter 1 & 2 homework deadlines through Monday morning. If I make a limited concession here, and he doesn’t honor his word, he can’t complain to the Dean, and I have some ammo to use should he request another special accommodation. I announce on Blackboard that I’m doing so because I want to make sure that everyone is as prepared as possible for the first exam coming up in about a week. As soon as I do so, I notice that Mo isn’t on my Blackboard roster. I research why only to find out that Mo dropped the class! I was ready to strangle him as soon as I found that out. At least he’s gone. I don’t know why, but I found Mo more annoying than the student last semester who wouldn’t let me eat lunch.
I’m still wondering if I should respond to that like I got on Match that I mentioned in my previous entry. Her name is Kari. I would have made a good FBI agent, because based on nothing more than her first name, her town, and the vague mention that she owns her own business, I was able to figure out her full name. Maybe that sounds a bit stalkerish, but let me explain. She’s very pretty, which I like. She’s compatible with my religious beliefs and lifestyle. She’s divorced, and if that sounds like a weird plus, to me that fact means that she’s already had her giant wedding and got that itch out of her system. My only pause is that she has a child, a 9-year-old son to be specific.
In a way, it’s kind of a plus because she won’t want to have more children, and in a few seemingly short years, he’ll graduate high school and start his life as an adult. It’s just…I didn’t really think I’d end up here, where almost all the eligible women are divorcees with kids. How do I set my expectations? I get that taking care of her son is top priority. I’m okay with that. Her profile says that her son sometimes lives with her, so that means that the dad is still in the picture. If I were to become serious with her, or any single mom for that matter, what’s my role as a step parent. Am I expected to co-parent? I’d kind of have to, right? What happens in four years when he becomes teenager and things become especially querulous. I’m not ready to have a child of my own. My mind boggles at the thought of having someone else’s.
There’s more, though. I also figured out that she has her own business. To elaborate, she makes embroidered socks, not something I can imagine pulling in a lot of money. Combine that with the fact that she competes in dressage, and the expected cash inflow doesn’t balance with the cash outflow. I looked up her address online, then looked up the house associated with that address on Zillow. It’s a half-million dollar house. There’s no way she’s covering the mortgage on that property with sock money. I also found an article about her in a horseback riding website that mentioned her mom and dad by name. I then looked up her parents’ address and they live in a $500,000+ house in a nearby town, so I suspect Kari’s current listed address is her parents’ previous address.
Rich girls tend to be trouble. One of my concerns about Erika was that she came from an affluent family, and lived well above her paygrade. I was concerned I might find myself having to bankroll a lifestyle beyond my financial means. That same problem looks like it would pertain to Kari. Granted, this is all presumption. Is it better to keep waiting? I keep waiting, and pretty soon the opportunity of finding someone feels like it’ll be gone. You’d think my years as a teenager and a twenty something with no romantic prospects would have made my years pushing 40 with no such prospects that much easier.