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Unreasonable requests from students: Sense check

276 replies

LaChanticleer · 22/01/2022 15:09

Just a place to moan really - in the last week, I have received the following requests from students:

  • that I come down (2 floors) from my office to the entrance of our security locked building to let them in for a tutorial they had booked with me because they couldn't find their id card (you know -slide the id card in the card reader to gain entry to an unportered building)

  • after sending out an email to my students in a module with a link in the email to my tutorial booking website and put in bolded letters "KEEP THIS EMAIL" and also putting the link in my email signature, several emails from students asking me to send them the link.

    I politely responded NO to all of these requests, but what I really wanted to say was:

    grow up
    you're an adult
    I am not your secretary

    AIBU as an academic? (btw, I'm a senior professor). Do these students realise that they're behaving quite rudely & unprofessionally?

    But beyond my own frustration at them treating me as if I'm their servant, just how do we prepare them for a workplace, where behaviour/requests like this would really land them in the shit? if they asked a senior colleague or maybe their boss, or someone who was funding them, they'd be given short shrift, and probably have a bit of a black mark against them ...
OP posts:
BitterTits · 22/01/2022 15:12

But forgetting an ID card or missing an email wouldn't land them in the shit in the workplace. I've done both at one time or another. It's not that enormous a deal.

PurplePikachu · 22/01/2022 15:29

If I couldn’t find my ID card and was coming to meet somebody senior, I might well ask that senior person if they could let me in (although I’d assume they’d actually send down a pa or somebody). I’m not sure what else you could do if that was the only person whose contact details you had?

People constantly misread emails - all you needed to do was reply saying “it’s in my email dated x, look in the auto-signature”.

So not sure either of those are big issues or would get people in trouble in the workplace.

Peanutssuck · 22/01/2022 15:44

But if its constant, the OP has every right to feel peeved about it. I run a business and my staff have been known to do this. It's not my problem if you, as an able adult, fail to understand simple requests/forget ID. However, it becomes my problem, because I am their employer. You end up becoming their mother/servant. I ended up telling the culprits that I wasn't their mother/servant and to shape up. Its annoying as hell

LaChanticleer · 22/01/2022 16:02

These are university undergrads - I'm a senior academic - no PA! I'm just wondering where they get the idea that I'll run after them when they've not got themselves organised. Do their parents teach them these expectations?

OP posts:
mumjustmum · 22/01/2022 16:05

Wow! Yes the students should learn to be more organised, but if I were you I'd remind myself that they pay your wages?
Did you never ask for help like this at uni? When living away from home as an undergrad for the first time? I'd be sad if you ever taught my kids.

HardbackWriter · 22/01/2022 16:06

The second one is annoying but inevitable and absolutely does happen in the workplace (and actually - I work in university professional services and academics ask me to resend information I've already sent them all the time. In my experience it happens more often the more senior the academic is). The first one - assuming it was quite a short-notice request I'm not sure what else you wanted them to do? Miss the tutorial? If they couldn't find it the morning of the meeting they probably couldn't sort the problem out for themselves by getting a replacement card in time.

Itchylegs · 22/01/2022 16:11

What is a senior professor? I am just an ordinary one meself. But I would just humph and do both. For every silly goose there is a student who brings me a coffee or is in other ways really thoughtful. Usually PGs though,!!

Flynnqwer · 22/01/2022 16:12

I have a well paid job with a lot of responsibility and I forgot my ID card on Wednesday. Of course it doesn’t get you in trouble. Forgetting an ID card and so asking the person you’re meeting to let you in is a run of the mill, normal human interaction.

but if I were you I'd remind myself that they pay your wages?

No they are not. Most students will have loans which they won’t ever pay back. The rest will have their parents paying the fees.

SiobhanSharpe · 22/01/2022 16:13


Wow! Yes the students should learn to be more organised, but if I were you I'd remind myself that they pay your wages?
Did you never ask for help like this at uni? When living away from home as an undergrad for the first time? I'd be sad if you ever taught my kids.

No, I never asked for this kind of help from academic staff while i was at university - I'd never dream of it!
It's not unreasonable to give them short shrift over the ID card issue, they could have texted or emailed you that they were going to be a few minutes late because etc etc or they could have asked someone they were with or nearby to let them in. They had options, they went for the laziest, most entitled one.
I'd be happy if you taught my kids.
Chillyseadippin · 22/01/2022 16:13

They’re not the ones employed by the institution.. you are. Your attitude stinks. Undergrads are not professionals, they are students. Their ‘job’ is to learn. Yes yes you’ve worked hard to land such a prestigious job etc etc., but this is not their workplace. Fair enough you CBA with the requests.. but ‘because I’m a senior professor dontcha know’ isn’t a suitable reason to dismiss them.

cultkid · 22/01/2022 16:16

Yes they are annoying

It's your job to teach them, just do what you need to do to get them through it

I'm glad I didn't have a teacher with an attitude like yours. You're not doing the students a favour they are your clients, basically.

My teachers used to email me on a Sunday night if I needed a hand.

PermanentTemporary · 22/01/2022 16:17

One of the major issues here is that you have limited backup in universities. In the private sector you would very likely meet in a building with a reception or security office that could deal with the id card issue. You might even have an assistant or an administrator who could field the crap. But you don't.

How about asking your IT dept or the computer science dept if they can set up a chat bot for you that will deal with rubbish like this??

HidingFromDD · 22/01/2022 16:19

I do get it’s annoying, but you do need to realise this also happens to senior managers in the workplace (I am one). Forgetting ID cards happens. In that case we have to have a manager approve the temp pass for security reasons. I’ve recently had exactly the same problem with people deleting a relevant email. We took the view that if it’s more than a localised incident we needed to reword the email to make it clearer that action was/would be required and this link was important.

110APiccadilly · 22/01/2022 16:20

I think you're being a bit OTT.

First request - happens in regular workplaces often enough that my current workplace (and, now I think of it, the previous one too) have a system for what to do if you forget your pass. It certainly doesn't get you any sort of black mark.

Second request - I actually think that's an odd way for you to have done that. Don't you have a module webpage, and wouldn't it have been better to put the link there so it couldn't be lost? Again, I've had people ask me for info I've already sent them in a professional workplace. No real harm done, certainly no black marks.

If it's constant from certain students, then fair enough to get a bit annoyed, but those two examples by themselves sound fine to me.

TheOccupier · 22/01/2022 16:31

Looking at the defensive responses from a lot of snowflake parents on this thread I guess we know how the useless students got this way!

OP I think you should work on being more fearsome. I wouldn't have dared to ask my university professors this sort of thing.

Luredbyapomegranate · 22/01/2022 16:31

Is this a regular or an occasional thing??

itsjustnotok · 22/01/2022 16:32

@LaChanticleer you’ll get a mixed bag here I think. Generally though I think you’re right, parents have no clue what their children are like. Where I work we rarely keep anyone under the age of 25…I have never know such appalling work ethics in my life. Hours late for work, no apologies. Forgetting ID badges, don’t care. No respect for anyone, customers and colleagues alike. But, if anyone dares to take them aside to discuss attitude etc they cry and complain and 9/10 will blame their mental health. The sad thing is they give a bad name to all. One lass I worked with was 3 hours late for work. I couldn’t have a break because we were so short. She walked in like she was on time, no apology nothing. I emailed our line manager who had a chat. I refused to discuss it with her because I had already broached it once before. She made a point of waiting until we were alone to tell me it wasn’t her fault she’s young and that she was disappointed I was so mean to her. Parents who keep making excuses for their kids are not helping them at all and are just leaving the rest of society to deal with their poor attitudes. I wish my experiences were a one off but sadly not.

BeyondMyWits · 22/01/2022 16:33

If these 2 things are happening on a regular basis, with many different students, then something is lacking. Not necessarily in the students.

ZenNudist · 22/01/2022 16:40

I think you sound cantankerous. 2 floors is fine. Just go and let them in. People do sometimes forget ID cards. It's a shame we have forgotten how to be human and just come and let someone in a door.

By all means give then a telling off on your way back up. "Please do not make a habit of forgetting, it gives the impression you are scatty and disorganised".

As for telling people to keep an email, it's not unheard of to have to resend an email. If it pisses you off you could say as much, don't make a habit etc...

Georgeskitchen · 22/01/2022 16:41

Different scenario but I work with young people mainly late teens who are constantly asking for cover because they've "booked tickets" for some event or other which happens to be on their contracted days work I wouldn't mind but some of them only do a 12 hour week and wouldn't k ow what full time work was if it smacked them in the face!!
God knows how they will survive if/when their parents are no longer around to keep them

MananaTomorrow · 22/01/2022 16:41

I’m quite surprised by the answers you are getting.

They are missing the link for the tutorial? Why are they not contacting one of their fellow students? Confused

They’ve forgotten their card? Again why not checking with one of the other students first? I mean contacting the tutor you are going to see after exhausting all other avenues, fair enough. As a first port of call? Nope.

I’m not sure how you can help them grow up tbh. I’m looking at my own dcs who are ready o go to uni. I know one will be organised enough. The other would (despite my best efforts!) do that sort of things if given the chance (Aka have a tutor who will answer with ‘of course! No problem at all’).
I imagine that all those students have managed to access the online teaching, got the the tutorial room? Who didn’t need your help. It was just easier….

PuppyMonkey · 22/01/2022 16:43

Some emails go into junk. sometimes you save an email but you forget what the title was and you can’t quite find the right one with the correct link when you search for it. I would and do ask colleagues at my workplace to resend things in such circumstances, which usually takes a matter of seconds (unless they haven’t saved the link properly themselves of course Grin).

I’d be a bit peeved about having to go and open the door, but I dunno. If it were the same person doing it all the time, play hard ball by all means. But if it’s once in four years for a student, I’d cut them some slack.

MananaTomorrow · 22/01/2022 16:47

@ZenNudist, I’d have a problem with it because it takes time.
And I have other things to do than sort out other people problems, esp when it’s something like ‘I’m disorganised and I’m expecting you to sort it out for you’.

When I am teaching the last 20 mins before can often be a bit of rush trying to sort out equipment/rooms for the session.p for example.

Theunamedcat · 22/01/2022 16:49

Did all of them forget there card?

ThePlantsitter · 22/01/2022 16:50

Well, you're not wrong, but that's partly why they're at university - to grow up.

I can see that this stuff is irritating, but it's culturally learned not stuff you're born knowing, so I would cut people some slack (especially people whose development of independence has been set back a couple of years by a pandemic).

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