I never get to say this to anyone — and I would NEVER say it to my students in so many words — but let me say it here, now. Just this once. Because if I don’t say it here, now, just this once, my head might explode and I might actually say it out loud — to a person — which would not be cool or helpful.
And I like to be cool and helpful.
(An aside: my college roommate once described me as true to my astrological sign, Cancer. She said, “Mel, you are totally like the crab. You gently and graciously sidestep around trouble and try to manage it with your thick exoskeleton and all through the crashing waves on rocky shores, but once you become fed up with it all, your claws SNAP and you pinch! Ouch!” She was totally right, and so I am mindful of this tendency. She also should have never taken my last Dr. Pepper right before finals; that was a mistake.)
So back to my point – I want, I need, to say this now.
Now: when there are only a few days remaining in the 11-week term.
Now: after several messages from me suggesting that you sit down and get some writing done.
Now: after I have offered up my time and support to help you map out an essay outline, brainstorm some ideas, find resources, read drafts, or create space in your schedule.
Now: after your repeated promises of meeting me half-way; of picking up the pace; of getting back on track; of getting your act together; of minding your p’s and q’s; of taking responsibility for your own learning; after your repeated but unfulfilled promises of all that.
Now: when your peers in our course who have been doing the work and participating all along also need my support.
Now: when there is a sudden (and dare I say convenient) announcement of a dead aunt; a sick dog; a mean boss; a crashed computer; a selfish spouse; a fever; a rash; a broken finger; a fever and rash on your broken finger; a cruel instructor in your other course; and a printer out of ink (all of which may be legitimate, but still, you have to admit that the timing of these announcements is interesting).
Now: that you’ve asked for an extension / incomplete / exception / anything-so-you-can-get-your-papers-in-late please please please please please!!!
Now. Right now.
Let me say it just once. Here it goes:
YOUR POOR PLANNING IS NOT MY EMERGENCY!!!
Thank you. I feel better.
Now: let’s talk so we can graciously figure out how to navigate the crashing waves and rocky shores together. I promise I won’t pinch. (Well, I promise I won’t pinch hard.) Because that would be neither cool nor helpful.