I need an opinion, y'all

So here's the story.

I left class 1 day early to go home for spring break. We had to do it that way because the difference in cost of flights in that and then the next school day were ASTRONOMICAL ('scuse the pun).

We booked the flight about a month in advance. I my teachers know immediately that I would be missing that day, and asked for any assignments that needed to be done. One teacher just had me do some reading, the other had me do some reading and writing to make up for it. I also had all other work done. Both teachers assured me there was nothing else to do.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I got a grading report from one of my teachers. He'd docked me 20% (TWENTY PERCENT) of my homework grade for missing that day -- because they ended up having an in-class assignment on a whim.

That he didn't tell me about.

I suppose it was my responsibility to follow up after spring break and say, "Did I miss anything last Friday?" But still. He'd assured me previously that there was nothing else I needed to do.

After class, I went up to talk with him, first to see if there was anything I could to do make up for the missed assignment that I didn't know existed. He said no, that it was an in-class assignment and therefore nothing could be done for it.

I reminded him (very politely, really) that I'd checked with him way in advance before the trip -- and reminded him before I left -- that I would be gone, and that he had told me I didn't need to do anything else. He said he hadn't planned on the assignment, but still, there was nothing he could do.

Now, 20% is a fair chunk of homework grade. So much so that it pushed my very worked-for A in the class to a B. I explained (very politely) that I didn't understand why I was being penalized for something I a) didn't know existed and b) couldn't have done anyway -- it wasn't like I was skipping class or not turning in homework. In fact, that was my first absence in the class, and I'd never missed a homework assignment. Ever.

He said since it wasn't an excused absence, he wasn't obligated to do anything. And if he helped me now, he'd have to help out EVERYBODY who hadn't turned in a homework assignment all semester. (UM. I turn in *every* homework assignment. This was an IN-CLASS assignment that I was gone for.)

Basically, we went (very politely) back and forth over this. Auntie Flo, of course, decided to help things along and smash a very large HORMONE EXPRESS TRAIN into me. And I started crying.

No joke, y'all. Not so much tears-streaming-down-the-face crying...more like lips-quivering-PLEASEGODDON'TLETMECRYINFRONTOFHIM crying. I could see then he felt a little bad. He's just a grad student, 3 years older than I am. But still. He refused to budge on the issue. (I will say, though, that he assured me that this wouldn't affect my final grade. Not quite sure what that means.)

Finally, when I felt the full-on sobs coming, I excused myself to go to the bathroom. And I ran there and tried to get ahold of myself (OH, AUNT FLO), which I managed to do after approximately five minutes of standing in front of the mirror and waving my hands frantically at my face.

After that, I shamefacedly went back to the classroom, got my stuff, and left. But this has been bugging me all weekend. So help me, y'all.

1) He says this isn't going to affect my final grade. But I can't see how it's NOT going to, seeing as it's dropped me down a letter grade.

2) Yes, it was an unexcused absence. But everything was squared away prior to my leaving and all other work was in.


So: I was pretty pissed off for a bit, there. Y'know, after the whole crying part. After talking to some friends, I think I'll wait to see my final grade, and if necessary I'll appeal it. Problem is, I have no actual proof that this went on. My teacher did acknowledge that I spoke with him prior to the trip to get everything taken care of, though.

But now I'm just feeling rather embarrassed. I mean, I cried. Do I e-mail him? Apologize for getting upset? Blame it on the hormones? (Kidding--I wouldn't do that. I'd say I was overly stressed, or something.) Or should I just drop it? I'm just worried things are going to be supremely awkward come class next week. Or that this whole thing will somehow negatively affect my ultimate grade?

I don't know. Assvice requested, please.


Anonymous said...

my only thought is.... do you have any confirmation via email or some type of written documentation that you talked this over with the teacher beforehand?
otherwise i feel like its his word against urs and that can get kind of sticky...
its okay to cry. we have all done it before.
maybe just email him and be like i just want to make sure that this is not going to affect my final grade bc i worked so hard throughout.
maybe also sit down iwth the teacher the grad student and you together.

The Nanny said...

Anon--no, I don't have any written confirmation. I'm kicking myself for that now, but I didn't think I'd have this problem!

And yeah, our entire conversation was just the two of us sitting down. But your e-mail suggestion is good, thank you!

Monica H said...

I would not apologize for crying or getting upset- you didn't do anything wrong. If I were you, I would email me just to make sure it won't affect your final grade. If for some reason your grade isn't what it should be in the end, at least you have proof of something in "writing".

What a bummer.

Anonymous said...

First of all, your actual teacher is a grad student, not just the TA? That blows. I'm surprised at your school that they have grad students as the documented teacher.

So my first piece of advice is that there is an actual professor above him, supervising the class, speak to your actual professor about it.

If this grad student is your teacher of record, then you're going to have to trust that when he says "this won't affect your final grade" that's teacher-code for "I am not going to allow you to make up this assignment because I do not want to set the precedent that I allow make-ups for missed classes, however I know that you are actually right and I won't factor it in when your grade is complete".

Meaning that he's NOT counting it against you, but he's not TELLING you that, because you could go to your friends and say that you were allowed to make it up.

That, of course, presupposes that he's actually going to follow through on his assertion that he won't let it count against your final grade.

I'm sorry. This situation sucks. I totally feel for you, and as a teacher, I would never do that to a student. If I decided to put something extra in class after a student already checked with me (which sometimes happens for me), I either create an alternative assignment for the student or put an "E" in my gradebook, excusing the student from the grade.

As for the crying, no, just let it go. It happens sweetie. Move on, and just bust your ass for whatever time is left in the class. Good luck and let us know what the outcome is!

The Nanny said...

MM--yeah, he's just a grad student. He's finishing up his thesis at DreamSchool and this is his only class. DreamSchool has a handful of grad students teaching the required beginning writing courses (this one I'm in is the required research writing course). No professor above him.

I've had this guy for 2 semesters now, and the gradebook shows I've *never* missed an assignment. I made an A in the class last semester. So my record, I suppose, is for me if I need to appeal the grade. As is the fact that I was ABSENT, as opposed to just skipping the assignment or class (though it is still unexcused).

I'll continue to work my hardest in that class because now? If I don't get an A, y'all...Nanny's gonna be PISSED :) And if the grade doesn't come through, I'll appeal.