It’s a question that comes up this time of year more than it should: “What can I do to pass the class?” I don’t mind the question. In fact, I hope students ask it, but I want them to ask it early and often. And I want them to ask it not only of me, but also of themselves. (Really, I would rather them ask something like, “What can I do so I get the most knowledge possible by being a part of this class?” But I’m not going to get much into pedagogical philosophy here; maybe I’ll save that for another post.)
It becomes an annoyance, though, this time of year, when I begin to see students I haven’t seen for most of the semester. They were there once or twice early on, then they stopped coming to class. They never dropped. They never sent me an e-mail with some elaborate excuse. They never contacted the school to announce their absence from classes. They just didn’t come.
Then they come in the last two or three weeks and ask me how they can pass.
The truth is, with my semi-loose attendance policy, they can still pass my class. There are two ways they can know this. One, ironically, is by coming to class, where I announce over and over again the minimum requirements for passing the class. The other is by reading the syllabus. I guess students who don’t come to class also don’t read the syllabus. I can almost, very faintly, understand not coming to class after reading the syllabus. But then again, if students did that, they wouldn’t be asking me how they can pass; they would already know.
My answer, when students ask, depends on my mood at the moment. I may say something helpful, like, “Read the syllabus,” but I usually say something more along the lines of, “I’ve already answered that in class.”
What questions annoy you this busy time of year?