William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Saturday, 17, January, 2009

Student Self-Diagnosis FAIL

Filed under: Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 23:45

See CrankyLitProf for the curious case of the Ass-Burgers.

I’ve been at the academic game now, student and teacher, for mumble-mumble years now.  But I’m not SO old that I can’t remember the dodges that my colleagues used to pull.  I had enough poor judgement myself, as a student that I learned good judgement from it.  It happens.  I remember the MSIII colleague who took a week’s vacation EVERY rotation.  (you were only supposed to to it once).  I remember the guy at Metro, who said he had to leave early to go “meet with his academic advisor at the school (we didn’t have them).  And then there was the guy that the chief resident asked about “Is he on our service?” (A bad question).

I’ve also been teaching long enough to get familiar with it.   Lately, I’ve come across more students with requests for accomodation for various problems.  I will point out one thing I’ve noticed.  There is an inverse relationship between the severity of the problem that needs accomodation and the strength of the student’s entitlement.

In other words, I didn’t know that one kid in my class had been in a coma until the kid got back and told me, when turning in some material.  No whining, no request for an extension, just a request for access to the on-line lectures.  And this individual buckled down and kicked butt.  Other people had needed accomodation because a spouse worked for Chevy, or they’d missed the last four weeks of class and didn’t get the right time for the final.

Very interesting, that little thing.



  1. You must have really different students, or maybe I just scare mine. The closest I’ve come to this sort of request is when a student came to my office hours and apologized for being a little off-topic talkative in a class the week before, and explained that being in college, he’d thought he could stop his ADD medication, but he wanted to apologize and assure me that it wouldn’t happen again. And it didn’t. (It’s not like my students are perfect, but they don’t ask for accomodations in inappropriate ways.)

    Comment by Bardiac — Sunday, 18, January, 2009 @ 00:00 | Reply

  2. I wonder if the ones who want to be accomodated are the better students. My bet, they aren’t… I’ve taught for a number of years in the military, and we gave NO slack. Our fail rates for some training/specialties was in the 50-60% range, but we didn’t change curriculum. We set folks back ONLY one time without a damn good reason. My mother died during my time in OCS, I got 7 days off, took care of everything, came back and managed to finish in the top 10% of the class of 300+. I was never given the option of being set back…

    Comment by Old NFO — Monday, 19, January, 2009 @ 02:14 | Reply

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