21 November 2016

Keeping to schedule

My university publishes an academic calendar of holidays and exams well in advance of the semester. The university is closed this Thursday and Friday (American Thanksgiving). But since last week I’ve had a steady stream of students asking me if we are having classes on Wednesday, and I even got one asking me, “Are we having class today?” (Monday.)

My answer is, “Yes, the university is open and class is happening as usual, as per university policy.”

“Other professors are cancelling class that day.”

I cannot tell you how much this annoys me. I’m not so much annoyed by the students asking, but by my colleagues.

Professors who cancel classes because it’s close to a holiday aren’t being professional. People in other jobs and other professions don’t just get to randomly not show up to work. But professors can cancel class pretty much whenever they want. And someone would probably need to cancel a lot of classes before a department chair or other administrator caught on and commented. This is the sort of thing that gets legislators breathing down our necks with arguments that professors have no accountability.

It bothers me because students are getting short changed. Students pay tuition for a certain number of contact hour, and they should be upset that they are not getting the instruction and face time that they are paying for. I suspect that few students think of it this way, probably because many still see their relationship with professors as an adversarial one. A cancelled class is just less work, rather than missed opportunities to learn. Unfortunately, professors who cancel classes because it’s close to a holiday set a bad example and encourage this “classes are just another thing I have to do” view.

So no, my classes are not cancelled this week. Because I am a professional who takes my obligations seriously.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I thought we are not allowed to cancel classes.