October 11, 2005
Late Comers and No Shows
I've been baffled recently by what to do with students who make appointments – that they "desparately" want and then show up late or fail to show up at all. Some students do manage to give me enough notice so I can reschedule that time slot, but others do not (I consider 24 minutes notice insufficient – especially when via e-mail). In the past, when students are not required to see me (due to Academic Probation), I have used a three strikes and you're out of luck policy – that is, if you blow me off three times with inadequate or no notice, I will not make another appointment to see you this semester. For students required to see me, I make notes of all of their transgressions in my folder – a semi-permanent record.
On a recent Monday morning I was particularly challenged in this area – this was a day where one of my three children was home sick and I had "divided the day" with my husband – you know, "I'll work in the morning and you work in the afternoon." I had three appointments scheduled for the morning – so I took the morning work shift – and each and every one of those students stood me up. One had sent an e-mail the night before (at 11:30 p.m.on a Sunday – a time I am not likely to be checking my e-mail), another one sent an e-mail (at 7:30 a.m. for a 10:00 a.m. appointment) and the third sent me an e-mail 24 minutes before our appointment stating that she just "woke up not feeling well".
I sent each a very terse e-mail stating that their notice was insufficient – but then what? What consequences could I impose on them that would be meaningful? (I know this sounds a lot like parenting stuff but I mentioned I had three children right?). I couldn't really cut them off – some were required to see me. I could threaten to tattle to the Dean that required them to see me – but then I would look a bit bitter (which I certainly was, but I wasn't sure I could share that with the Dean without sounding oh so very whiny).
I realized my anger was disproportionate because of the hoops my entire family went through so I could be sitting alone in my office that morning, but I am still baffled what to do in these circumstances. Any suggestions would be appreciated because as I sit here on a rainy Tuesday morning (we are on a Monday schedule today because of Columbus Day) all alone, I know this will happen again....
As for my three aforementioned students, I sent them each an e-mail with a new appopintment time which was at my convenience – not theirs – and did not really give them the option of rescheduling unless it conflicted with a class or interview. I have tried to be very clear when making Monday morning appointments that cancellations must be done on Friday unless it is an emergency.
Also, I've been lysoling and purelling (new verbs made up for this very blog!) like a crazy woman and my children now believe that all their middle names are, "wash your hands." At least I like to believe I have control over one thing..... (ezs)
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