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WWYD - a student email

(17 Posts)
CustardShoes Mon 13-Mar-17 15:07:58

I'm supervising undergrad dissertations all day tomorrow, with a series of appointments set up via Doodle poll.

I've just had an email from a student asking id they could double check what time their appointment is. The student sent me some draft material this morning, for a meeting tomorrow, when I'd asked for them to send draft materials least 2 days beforehand.

Hmmmm, what would people here do? I am inclined not to answer it.

Because ...
My first instinct was to answer "Check the Doodle poll and/or your diary." (meanwhile thinking "I'm not your secretary.")

But if I email that, I may as well email the time to the student.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Mon 13-Mar-17 15:10:19

Sigh. I get these all the time. Answer is usually to be found clearly in the module handbook. If it's an appointment though I would probably tell them or they won't turn up and will just expect to rearrange.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 13-Mar-17 15:11:07

Are they having problems accessing this doodle thing (whatever it is)

TooDamnSarky Mon 13-Mar-17 15:15:14

I'd send a general email to all students confirming that there appointments will take place according to the doodle poll.
And at the start of the meeting I'd make clear that I had not read the materials as they had been sent too late. if necessary I'd rearrange for the following week (after a brief discussion to see why they had not submitted on time)

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Mon 13-Mar-17 15:21:11

Yes, even though you might as well tell them, I would fire off a very quick 'please check appointment times via original Doodle poll' - this makes the point that you're not the secretary and they could have done this off their own bat, without having to actually say so!

I also wouldn't be in a huge rush to reply - unless their enquiry was very polite and apologised for asking, only they can't seem to access Doodle....

Finally, in the meeting I would probably have a few comments on earlier parts of the drafts sent but not to the extent you would have if the drafts had been sent on time. Again, it's important for you and for the student to understand that you asked for 2 days for a reason: they can't just expect you to find time you made it clear you did not have!

Gets very tiresome when they clearly think it'll be quicker and easier (for them) if you tell them things rather than them having to actually go to the bother themselves!

TooDamnSarky Mon 13-Mar-17 15:25:19

and more generally, in such situations I find it helpful to think "what would my more senior male colleagues do?"
I think students often slip into treating female staff with less respect and more readily eat into our time unnecessarily. I've had student openly admit to asking me stuff because (male) Prof X is too busy/important for them to ask him.

CustardShoes Mon 13-Mar-17 15:41:38

Thanks all. You confirmed that I'm not being a petty bitch by not answering.

TBF to my male colleagues, most of them would probably answer. I'm the most senior (and female) in my unit. We're very student-friendly (to the extent that Combined Hons students ask us about their other subject), at a university that is obsessive about the "student experience."

I think I shan't answer. But it's no bother to read the draft as it's just a couple of pages of a sort of brain dump.

But I think at the end of the tutorial, I shall ask the student why they needed to email me to double check, instead of checking themselves. And point out that this won't go down well in the workplace in 5 month's time. because I'm annoying like that

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Mon 13-Mar-17 15:55:08

TooDamnSarky - absolutely! I bet I get a lot more 'hiya just a quick q, how do I reference......' emails than my male colleagues.

In fact, one student who was in my seminar group once booked a tutorial with my colleague who I shared an office with, to ask how to put together an argument for an essay they were submitting to me - while I was in the room! Then booked with me a week later to ask.... how to do the referencing.

Aderyn2016 Mon 13-Mar-17 16:05:41

If it's no difficulty for you to just tell him, then I would probably just do it this timeand point out in the email wjere appts can be found in future.
Maybe they are struggling a bit, what with late submissions and needing to double check appts. I think I'd start off kind and stop if they appear to be a piss taker in the future.

geekaMaxima Mon 13-Mar-17 17:26:21

My dept has a policy of responding to student emails within 2 days, so I wouldn't reply. I'm not their secretary.

If student turns up, then they solved their own problem. If not, then I'd reply to the original email to point out appointment times were on doodle. They're adults; their responsibility.

CustardShoes Mon 13-Mar-17 17:30:17

Geeka yes, this is what I think I'll do. We have a Faculty policy of a reply within 48 hours. But not all emails need to be answered, is my feeling!

I have two sons currently at university, and I would be pretty peeved with them if they indulged in this kind of lazy behaviour - my mantra, when they were growing up was 'how about you use your brain, not mine', if I thought they ought to be able to work something out for themselves.

geekaMaxima Mon 13-Mar-17 18:38:22

Custard I agree not all emails need to be answered! The only reason I'd reply after the fact would be purely as a passive-aggressive means of illustrating that missing the meeting was their own fault. blushgrin

Daisymay2 Mon 13-Mar-17 18:43:24

My 3rd dyslexic stuggles with time tables etc and might ask- but his lecturers are aware of this problem.

Daisymay2 Mon 13-Mar-17 19:23:26

Sorry 3rd year dyslexic - that should be!

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 15-Mar-17 20:14:26

Gosh, maybe I'm hard hearted but I'd not even hesitate to reply 'this information is on your doodle poll'. I'd reply that to a dyslexic student, too, unless I'd been particularly informed that s/he had additional difficulties with that specific format (and if that were the case, I would already have set up an alternative). Otherwise that student will just keep wasting your and other people's time.

CustardShoes Tue 21-Mar-17 17:15:13

To wind up the story ...

The student concerned popped her head around my door on the day of her tutiorial, to check the time, with a story about how she'd left her diary 'at home.'

I confirmed the time with her from my diary, and laughed as I said that I really wasn't her secretary. She was properly apologetic, and had tried to check the Doodle poll, but I'd made it anonymous, so she couldn't see which was her time.

I felt just a smidgen of guilt at setting it up like that ...

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