I'm so very glad I will have a break from being the internship coordinator following the summer semester. I find it much more difficult to gain respect from students with whom I do not have face-to-face interaction with on a regular basis.
I did not have this problem when teaching at Marquette University. Students accepted their grades and generally took responsibility for their actions. The problem at MU generally arose from parents wanting to discuss their child's performance and/or grades. Instructors are not at liberty to discuss these topics with a grown adult's parent.
Then I moved to Mt. Mary College. Here I did not run into authority issues with students. Sure there were a few that questioned their grades and this is more than fair, and I was happy to discuss.
But I never ran into the excuses, complaining and blatant disrespect that I have experienced at UW-Milwaukee. For the most part I love UWM students. In fact, compared to the other two institutions these students, overall, take their educations very seriously. They work hard (in school and at many part-time/full-time jobs). And they are respectful and honest.
But as discussed in the 80/20 post prior, there are always the few that refuse to accept that they are not the exception to every rule. Rules/guidelines and requirements are created for specific reasons. You "special snowflake" are not an exception.
First, I want students to differentiate the difference between the words "deserve" and "earn" - they are not synonymous.
Second, simply because you classify yourself as a "hard worker" is not a reason to grant you a special exception - we expect all of our students to be hard workers. And for the complainers - with as much time you spend on complaining I have no idea how you can get any work done. Generally these "hard workers" are those who did not decide their major until well into their junior year, don't have the required GPA and haven't planned far enough in advance. They are generally scrambling for an internship. Often this is because they've been told for more than a year they need one, but put it off. To me this does not equate into a smart worker, no matter how hard they make the task to be.
Third, an exception to the rule is not granted because you feel it's an unfair rule. In fact the opposite is true. If you are granted an exception, then it is unfair to every other student who followed directions, met deadlines and didn't take up unnecessary time because you didn't read the instructions/requirements/responses.
If you are a student reading this and think this is about you -- know that of the 50-70 student interns managed each semester there are 2 - 5 of YOU that take up 80 % of my (and the committee's) email, phone-call and meeting time. This always hinders me from prepping for my face to face classes to the level I would like (45 - 100 students affected). I complete the other 90% of interns (approving, notifying, discussing) and and internship responsibilities (approving and posting positions, creating documentation, developing the semester/D2L/web page information) in a fraction of the time. This leaves me with time to sleep for at least 4 hours/night. This is not good for the baby to be (@GeorgeMP4).
My plea to students is -
1. Please read.
2. Research the things you want to know/discuss before shooting emails asking things you could have easily found out on your own.
3. Take a step back and try to think about how other people are being affected by your actions.
4. Do not demand you be granted an opportunity, especially if you have not completed the requirements.
5. Do not break rank or make threats (go above, around and up and down the hall) trying to get your way. This makes you look bad. It also wastes a lot of people's time. Every student is important, but you need to learn the appropriate way to address your concerns. Sometimes your concern is not as urgent as you feel it should be.
6. DO - meet face-to-face. Email correspondence can easily be misconstrued.
7. Do not expect an immediate response - especially if you procrastinated and/or do not do the same.
8. If you are told no, and there are valid reasons for this response- accept it! Sometimes no means no. This is not unfair, it's reality.
For the 90-95% of the students who read, meet deadlines, ask appropriate questions and take responsibility for your actions. Thank you!