We’ve All Had Teachers Like This

, , , , , , | Learning | April 6, 2020

I’m a 21-year-old college senior working on a law program in addition to my bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, I’ve had asthma that fluctuates in severity since I was a kid. As fear and panic begins to spread throughout the country, my doctor personally calls me to notify me that she would like me to come pick up some doctor’s notes that she’s signed for me in order to pass to my professors and my work. She would rather have me inside and self-isolating as soon as possible. 

Once I get these notes, I drop them off to the appropriate parties and am reassured that it won’t be a problem at all. I drop the signed doctor’s notes on a Monday, and my school week typically starts on a Tuesday. So, I am covered, sweet. 

That Friday morning, I wake up to an email from one of my professors, at least a page long, chastising me for being so irresponsible and not showing up to class. This professor is close with my advisor, but I’ve never had him nor interacted with him otherwise, so this kind of email is rather inappropriate and shocking. 

I send him an email, reminding him of my doctor’s note and also providing him with my doctor’s number in case he needs to call her office. 

Within minutes, he writes back, stating that asthma is no excuse for missing class and no quality professor would be accepting of that reason. 

When I email him back, I CC the Dean of Humanities and once again attach my doctor’s note. Within the body of the message, I explain that while I understand where he is coming from, with the spreading healthcare crisis it is more detrimental for me to be outside than it is for me to be home. I also point out that all of my other professors, including my law professors with whom I interact wholly online and got precautionary notes, had no issues whatsoever. I want to point out the fact that he is literally the only professor I have who doesn’t have the title of Doctor, but I refrain; I’m not trying to be rude here. 

I don’t hear back from him, but the next week my campus closes until the end of the semester and everything is moved online. Every professor follows the school’s mandated “week off” while everything changes… except him. 

It only takes three days into the week before all the coursework is removed from view from the class’s homepage and the Dean emails our class to personally apologize for the professor’s behavior. I guess my classmates have been complaining, too. 

The Dean emails me, too, apologizing for the professor’s behavior and requesting a copy of my note to keep on file. She then goes on to tell me that if I need anything to not hesitate to reach out. 

Moral of the story: don’t be an a**hole during a national emergency, man. Not all college students intentionally skip out on school all the time. And it’s better to be an understanding, cool professor than one everyone hates.

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