Skip to content

UProf Says: Don’t Be a Wimp. Feel Free to Check “Don’t Like”. Besides, June Is Migraine Awareness Month.

June 6, 2013

Don’t be afraid to check “don’t like” after you read my posts. I like honesty because I’m an honest sort of guy myself. I’ve been telling students that I don’t like their work for years, so it isn’t going to tear me up if I get several (or dozens) of “Don’t Likes”. Don’t be a wimp. I’ve received messages from students telling me that they know who I am and threatening to “out” me for the things I write here. Nobody in administration has said anything to me yet, and I doubt anyone ever will, even though it may be widely known who I am. I’m tenured. Go ahead. “Don’t Like” me.

That said…

News continues to get worse and worse: global warming issues; fracking; offshore drilling, and beached dead animals that no one can identify. The list is longer than the list of students I’ve awarded failing grades to through the years.

Now there’s another environmental concern: deer pee. Someone did a study and found that in some areas of the United States, deer are responsible for the dwindling supply of hemlock, the deer’s own food staple. Their urine contributes to nitrogen in the ground, something which the hemlock doesn’t like. As a result, other plants take over, plants which the deer don’t like. I suppose this is a headache brought on by the deer themselves. I can’t blame them. What do deer know about chemistry and botany anyway?

This news comes on the announcement of National Migraine Awareness Month, as if one might not be aware that he has a headache.

And all of this comes on the heels of a departmental headache right here at UProf’s university. Our department’s secretary somehow got students’ grades to the registrar’s office mixed up. This resulted in a flurry of phone calls and emails to a lot of professors and lecturers. I suspected that something was wrong when I got several emails (and voice mails) from students thanking me for my generous grade. While I myself believe that my grading is quite generous, only those who take issue with their grades and watch me tear their papers apart word-by-word actually know how generous I really am. The rest are just  mice leading lives of quiet desperation.(Thank you, Henry David Thoreau).

I decided to stay out of the flap and not acknowledge the emails or voice mails. I figured that our incredibly incompetent department secretary would hear about it from someone else. (She’s got another title, but I don’t know what it is, but since she does what she does, she’s just a secretary).

It isn’t as if she’s new to her job. It certainly is NOT that it is the first time that she has made such a mistake. A couple of years ago, she made major entry mistakes in the department chair’s students’ grades, which required her to reply to those who received A’s when they really deserved B’s. (I may be the only prof who has the guts to award a grade below a B. If you aren’t aware of my grading system, check out my last blog entry).

That one incident should have put her on the radar, but no. This recent goof merited some sort of talk, but nothing happened. After ten years, she still hasn’t figured out that I don’t have a cubby hole for mail (not that I care, but the fact that she hasn’t figured it out should tell you something).

I’m not teaching classes this summer, but I was in my office anyway to get away from the house. I heard one of the other profs asking the chair why this woman still has her job. He went on to enumerate a lot of other recent snafus this woman has committed just this year.

The answer? She’s a single mother. She REALLY needs her job. (I REALLY need my job too, but if I don’t do what is expected of me, I could lose my job).

I remembered that from when she was first hired. I walked to her desk to look at the photo of her kids and to see if more personal liabilities had been added to her family portrait.

Nope. She’s got the same photo of her with her ten year-old, her twelve year old and her fourteen year-old kids. Her kids are grown! Add ten years to their ages and it becomes very clear that she is NOT exactly desperate. At least two of those kids should be on their own by now.

This seems to happen in workplaces other than university departments. Managers love to hire single mothers because they are supposedly “more dependable.” More dependable than who or what? Through the years, our “more dependable” secretary has taken sick days at critical times when she was needed more times than I can count.

What can one do or say other than “Deer pee”?


Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: