Author Topic: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long  (Read 2409 times)

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AylaM

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Sorry, I read my post and it was reall rambling, so I wanted to summarize.

My teacher gave me an extension for a project couched in a really insulting email that basically called me a disorganized procrastinator.

The chain if events was
  •   I tried to install the program.  Get it done early!
  •   He assigned the program for installation and the first project.
  •   It didn't work.  I didn't contact him because I didn't think he could help.  This was later proved by him not being able to help when I did ask about it.
  •   I contacted him the day before the project was due to say I didn't have it and I gave him an update on my problems with installation.  I specifically stated that I was not asking for an extension, but that I wanted to keep him informed.
  •   I continued to try to install.  I had problems. Another assignment was assigned
  •   I finished intallation 2ish days (technically 2 days b/c of date, but not even close to 48 hours) before project was due it was a 2 week assignment.
  •   I tried to do the project.  Had a problem.  Problem was something stupid.  It had also for most of 3-4 days made me think the install was done wrong (Again).  I asked him for confirmation of the problem when I thought I had pinpointed it.  This was the due date.
  •   That was the problem. He gave an extension of about 1/2 a day.  Now I could really start the project.
  •   I asked a question about what the project was supposed to do because the description was so breif and my results so strange that I didn't know if I was doing the assignment wrong or if my understanding of the theory was wrong.
  •   Extended due date passed.  Still wasn't done.
  •   He replied.  Answered my question, sorta.  Gave an extension.  Basically called me a unorganized procrastinator.  Had terms like "buy a notebook, and get organized" and "you could at least meet me half way and start projects earlier"

Point is: I was glad I didn't follow through with my first instinct to respond to his rather long e-mail.  It probably would have sounded really defensive, and possibly made things worse. However I don't know if I should make any mention of anything when I turn in the projects or just suck it up thank him for his generosity as if he hadn't said anything.

What do you think?





Original below - not really necessary to read.
---------------------------

Someone is doing me a rather large favor. Frankly it was from a teacher on a sort-of online class.  I can participate in lectures but can't get to the campus.

So we had some projects and I could not get the software installed.  There wasn't much he could do remotely to help get it installed and the one time (later) I did ask a question his response didn't help at all.  So I was just kind of chugging along when I could using the online community to get stuff set up. The first time I contacted him was to tell him that I wasn't able to install it but that I was working on it.  This was the day before the project was due.  I wanted him to know that I wasn't lazy, I was working on it, but I wouldn't be able to complete the project.   My attitude was along the lines of "This sucks, but stuff happens". I specifically told him I was not asking for an extension, I was just keeping him informed.  I got it installed about a week and a half later (it could take 5+ hours to run/install and that was if my computer didn't overheat while it happened).  In the time it took me to get this installed the first hw/project  had been due and the second was due about 24-48 hours out (about 7% of our grade each). 

So with the program working I was trying to learn to use it and do the project.  I asked him a question that I couldn't find the answer to online.  This was like a "Do I need to move the mouse to click a link?" kinda question.  Something that everyone assumes the users know how to do.  But once it was answered I was working again. He gave me an extra half a day to do the work (very nice).  But I couldn't get it done.  I asked some questions that came up as I was doing the project that, with no experience, I had thought I had a decent grasp on before.  I did not ask for an extension.  And let him know what happened.

My plan was then "study hard for the midterm/final and make sure the big project is done well"  and I could pull a b-/c in the class.  Not ideal, but I was okay with that.  So then I got an e-mail.  He offered to extend it to out over the weekend for a penalty, but this came in a rather insulting e-mail about how I should "buy a notebook", get better organized,  and maybe even read the book.  I can see how he'd think that I was just a really bad procrastinator based on when everything fell. But  >:(  >:(  >:(.

 :'(

Frankly if I'd known the class would turn out like this (installation problems aside it is HARD - now I know why 50%+ of the class is auditing.  Good topic, hard class)...I'd have taken a different course.  The required class I'm having more trouble with than usual and the other elective I'm taking requires more hours than I think it should to go over the material.  I can't read math, so it is slow going.  Anyways, it is too late to switch and I wanna graduate gosh darnit.



« Last Edit: October 19, 2012, 04:04:49 PM by KayMarie »

cicero

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Re: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 03:56:10 PM »
I'm not quite sure what the "favor" is here. are you saying you are registered for a course and he is allowing you(= the favor) to not show up to class?

at any rate - from what you are describing here, from *his* point of view, you *aren't* organized. and his reply isn't insulting.

now, i know how annoying and frustrating it is to install software that isn't cooperating. you had assignments due and you couldn't do them. you asked a question that you admit, you should have known. you say yourself that your work isn't great  but "with no experience, I had thought I had a decent grasp on before" - I'm thinking, that he might be thinking, that if you are in this course, you should be able to complete these assignemtns.

I wouldn't say anything further.

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AylaM

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Re: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2012, 04:12:53 PM »
The favor is the extension of 2 days.

The course is designed for off-site students to be able to teleconference with the main campus.  I can't get to the main campus though, so physically going to his office hours so he can see what is wrong with the install wasn't possible.  Meaning any communication was via text. And not really useful.

The problem was that I didn't see anything that explicitly said "you can only run this particular project/example through command line".  I was not trying to run it through command line.  Other programs of a similar type did not need command line.  I spent the time trying to reinstall and/or edit code thinking that I'd made an error.

I was leaning towards not saying anything and just being grateful, even though the e-mail upset me.  So I'm was basically thinking exactly what you said, cicero.

I know that I've been working hard on it, but he doesn't have any proof of that.

Sterling

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Re: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2012, 04:24:27 PM »
As an educator who teaches through online courses I have to admit I understand your teacher here.  Students who wait until the day before an assignment is due to contact me about a problem seem to be procrastinating.  Also signing up for an online class without first ensuing that you have use of the proper technology shows a lack for foresight.  I often have student who contact me half way through a term and are not doing well suddenly all about doing better.  It is hard to take that serious.

I am not saying that you ARE one of those students.  I am sure your reasons and excuses are legitimate but unless this teacher has a lot of background with you he has no way of knowing that.  I would not respond to the email because the more defensive you sound the more you sound like one of the students I described.  It is a doubled edged bland unfortunately.

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NutMeg

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Re: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 04:35:52 PM »
I'm with your teacher on this. You should have informed him you were having trouble in a timely fashion, and then kept him updated. Telling him the day before the due date that you would be undable to complete the assignment is just not reasonable on your part. I had a lot of trouble following your post, so I can't speak to the specifics.
"You're hostages! This is a life-and-death situation here. Start acting like it! We're your captors. We're armed. There's rules. There's a whole school of etiquette to this!" - Dr. Daniel Jackson                

EMuir

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Re: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2012, 04:38:26 PM »
I experienced this a lot while in classes for my degree.  I wouldn't say anything.  Try to be really assertive and ask a lot of questions next time right away, even if you think they're silly.  Make sure you know where all the online discussion boards are for the class.  If you were there in person, I'd say join a group of students and work on assignments together.  When I was in hard classes we huddled in the computer lab all the time to figure things out together.  It helped a lot and asking questions of other students is way less intimidating! Good luck!

MummySweet

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Re: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2012, 05:02:37 PM »
OP, I think your post is missing the important information of when the projects were assigned and when they were due.  (Were they both two weeks from assignment to due date?)    Based on the information that you provided, it looks like you really did wait to the eleventh hour to contact the prof about issues.  He would likely have been more understanding if you had brought up the installation issues earlier in the working period.  He does sound accommodating with extensions.   From his end, what he sees someone who didn't even start the work until a day or two before it was due, on more than one project... behavior that is often interpreted as disorganized. 

He called you out on what he sees as a pattern of behavior.   Perhaps he could have been more constructive in the his approach, but just as a student wants a teacher to understand that "stuff happens", a teacher wants a student to understand that they aren't always available at the last minute and that time/project management benefits the entire learning experience.

I hope it all works out for you!

SleepyKitty

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Re: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2012, 05:28:22 PM »
I'm with your teacher on this. You should have informed him you were having trouble in a timely fashion, and then kept him updated. Telling him the day before the due date that you would be undable to complete the assignment is just not reasonable on your part. I had a lot of trouble following your post, so I can't speak to the specifics.

POD to all of this. It doesn't matter if you think the prof can help or not, you need to make them aware of any problems that might keep you from completing your assignment as soon as you know about them. I tell my students this flat out - if there is an issue that could be handled early, but you only tell me about it right before an assignment is due, you're SOL. (This exempts emergencies, obviously.)

Another issue here is that professors often have to be very blunt with their students. If you're not, you get all kinds of trouble because students say things like, "I thought it was okay" or "You didn't tell me" or "I didn't realize I need to do X/not to do X." I understand that it can come across as rude when you feel it's not justified, but the professors aren't psychic. We don't know who genuinely tried to start their assignment early or who didn't bother until the day before and is just feeding us a line. All we know is that the student didn't contact us until right before the assignment was due. I know it may feel strange to you that he came right out and told you to buy a notebook and get organized, but here is a list of things students told me that they had no idea they needed to do because I did not explicitly tell them (and therefore it was my fault they were doing poorly):

Take notes in lecture
Bring a pen to class to take said notes
Do research for the research paper
Show up to class
Ask for help if they didn't understand something
Participate in the discussion during the weekly discussion section
Hand things in on time
Not plagiarize
Not cheat off another student

I guess my point is that professors can only work with what you give them. I don't think the professor was being rude at all, I think he was dealing with the reality of what he was presented with. Thank the professor for giving you an extension (I wouldn't have, for my students) and move on.

AylaM

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Re: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2012, 05:53:51 PM »
The info on when stuff was due:

Week4: Project assigned due in 1 week (week 5).  Everyone had install problems, so due date was moved to week 6.

Week6: Project/hw 1 Due. apparently everyone elses' install problems were solved.  I told him mine still wasn't.  Project assigned. Due week 8.

Week 7: Told him in class that install appeared ok, but I couldn't run the example codes that should work.  And that I was still working on it.

Week 8: Project/hw 2 due.



Overall, I can appreciate the sentiment.  And can see his POV, but I hated the way he said it.   I could have dealt with "the way I see it it you are starting your projects way too late, and you need to start earlier" a lot better then comments about reading the book and buying organizers and such.  Especially since everything he suggested is something I have done.

I don't intend to say anything back on the topic

A good update is apparently the rest of the class had the same problem that I had (that prompted me to e-mail him about it, resulting in the e-mail).  And they just turned it in.  It sounds like no one else asked about it at all, and I guess my asking when no one else did resulted in the "read the book" part of the e-mail.  So as he was grading it it turned out none of them are right.  He told me my results looked like everyone elses' and to just write it up and turn it in.

It had a much nicer tone overall.  So...

I'm still a disorganized procrastinator, but maybe I read the book now.   :)

Or at least no one else read it either.   ;)

Also in a bit better mood now that I've stepped away for a bit.  I'm chalking it up as lessons learned.  I guess the problem is that I've never really had problems with these things before and usually "I'll figure it out in time"  does actually end up with me figuring it out in time.  This is the hardest class I've taken to date, mostly because it has a crash-course in medical stuff that I can hardly get my head around.  The medical stuff then applies to all the programming stuff.  Going forward I will try and keep him updated even if the update is "nothing has really changed, it still doesn't work.  starting it again".





hjaye

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Re: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2012, 07:19:49 PM »
I can understand your frustration with the software not working.  I work in IT, I'm a senior engineer and my main job responsibilities now are to help new customers transition their hardware and software over to our companies hardware and support services.

I get very frustrated when a new software application doesn't work, and unfortunately that seems to be the norm rather than the exception.  However, if I'm reading this correctly, you tried to install the software and it didn't work, I'm assuming you did this at the beginning of the two time frame you had to complete the assignment.  If you were unable to install the software, and you were relying on the on-line community to help you, even if the instructor was not going to be able to help you solve your installation problems, you needed to let him know immediately that you were having problems.

From what I read, he didn't know about your issues until just a few days before the assignment was due, that's probably part of what he was aggravated about.  No matter how hard you were trying in the course of the two weeks to get things to work, he was not informed, so as far as he was concerned, everything was working and progress was being made.


Nebraska Jones

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Re: Being insulting, but doing me a favor - should I say anything? Long
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2012, 11:35:23 AM »
Whether or not you should have contacted him earlier his email was snarky in my opinion.  He could have said "I'm really questioning whether you are prepared for class by the timing of your question."  Instead he had to tell you to "go buy a notebook" and to "read the book," that's a little too much and really shows an attitude. 

Is he allowed to feel frustrated?  Sure, but the other comments aren't necessary.  I think if you brought your problem to ehell about being unable to do your work and a poster replied that you need to "just get a notebook and get organized" other posters would find that snarky, rude and unnecessary.