...my grading gets really generous and I seem to be able to fly right through essays which took me much longer earlier in the day.
Ahem. So, I'm taking a break to share this story. And I want your real opinions.
Friday, we gave a test. One student came up to us 2 minutes before we handed it out and said she was just too ill to take it. Fellow TA, whom I've trained to be as suspicious as me, looked at me, looked back at the young woman and said, "Well, you're here. You can't make it another hour or so?"
Oh, no, she was deathly ill and just couldn't. So, fine. Our professor is pretty good about letting them make up the exams with a doctor's excuse and assorted other excuses. Fellow TA told her to come back Monday with an excuse.
Something's not clicking with me. I am, I will admit after years of TAing and after having taught my own class a few times, a tad skeptical. For example, we had a student who came to take an exam, answered the first few questions, and then proclaimed she was too sick to finish. Fellow TA, still early in her first semester as a TA and not having received the benefit of my full tutelage in skepticism, told her okay. I reminded her that we didn't make new exams for makeups and as the student had already seen and answered most of the exam, this could be an issue. So we re-drafted the exam and fellow TA learned a valuable lesson.
And, I am a stickler for attendance. Oh, I know some students have to miss, but once you have more than 5 or 6 absences, my eyebrow is raised.
So back to sick student. She comes in today with an excuse written on a prescription slip on which the "doctor" has written "__________ had the flu and couldn't attend class 11/6 through 11/10. Call me if you have more questions." I'm thinking, 1) This sounds nothing like any other excuse I've gotten 2) On a prescription slip? Don't most doctors have excuse forms? 3) The doctor gave her a retroactive excuse that extended back four days? 4) Hey, I recognize this student's name!
Why do I recognize this student's name? Because she missed the eight classes immediately before the test! So, I'm thinking "the flu" may be code for "I haven't read a damn thing." I couldn't help it, y'all.
I called to verify the excuse.
She's not even a patient there.
Now here's my dilemma. I've only called to verify 3 other excuses this semester. I was prejudiced against this girl because she missed so much class. If she'd had 3 or fewer absences, I would've never checked. Of course, I'm going to run all this by the professor and he gets final say but...
What's your opinion? Am I wrong for thinking she shouldn't get a makeup? Should I let the attendance fixation go? Am I unfairly biased towards kids who come to class?