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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:

burnoutbabe · 25/01/2022 08:02


Ok good example today.

Some of my students have been asking similar questions about an upcoming assignment. So I emailed them back and said I will put a document answering these questions on the module site under the assessments tab.

I put an announcement out on the module site saying there is more assessment guidance under the assessment tab. This was last week.

Today I had an email from someone saying she’s been loo and can’t find it. I panicked thinking I’d put it on the wrong module site but went and had a look and it’s there. 🤷‍♀️

So firstly she can’t have looked very hard, secondly she can have asked others in her cohort as I’m sure someone else would have been able to tell her where it was.

Anyway at a risk of making a rod for my own back I emailed her the document as it was actually quicker just to attach that than repeating where to find it! But as a more experienced colleague of mine once said doing that for them just enables helplessness!

To be fair it winds me up as a student when fellow students email me to ask me to send me the link to the class. As it's "not there" when clearly it is as I can see it.

Or can't find the readings etc. I tend now to take pictures of where it is to post back.

We did get told how to email people at the start of term and it's in our handbook (put module name and topic in the header, put s greeting etc, say how you relate to them (Ie I am in your 9am mobday tutorials) etc

Don't get me started on the number of students who asked me what the questions in our exam were about (Ie which week of a 10 week course they related to).during the 24 online at home exam.

Obviously I said I could not say which they took to mean I didn't know for those 2 so asked about 2 others!

loobylou10 · 25/01/2022 10:23

@SpinsForGin - what does the £9000 per year pay for then??


SarahAndQuack · 25/01/2022 10:25

[quote loobylou10]@SpinsForGin - what does the £9000 per year pay for then?? [/quote]
Just C&Ping this from further up the thread:

Students are not paying academics' salaries. The research councils and other grant-awarding bodies are doing most of that. What students are paying for is the opportunity to study to an advanced level, using the university's resources - library, e-learning service, laboratories and teaching from experts in the subject.


Mumteedum · 25/01/2022 10:35

...and counseling, careers, support services, buildings, computers, equipment, sports facilities, administration....


SpinsForGin · 25/01/2022 11:03

[quote loobylou10]@SpinsForGin - what does the £9000 per year pay for then?? [/quote]
Everything sarahandquack and mumteedum have said.

I brought in more money through bids and external projects than I did in tuition fees last year.


SamphiretheStickerist · 25/01/2022 13:04


They pay your wages.

As has been said for many, many decades. Nope! They absolutely do not, never have, never will.

But this seems to pop up all the time. People who have no idea about the sector getting all frustrated that people whose jobs include, but are not restricted to, teaching various modules don't act like some kind of nannying serf.

No @loobylou10 Apart from the difference between wages and salaries, academics don't get paid to teach. Teaching is usually an adjunct to their wider role. That's why they aren't always there to open doors, repeat information, photocopy worksheets, answer emails immediately etc etc etc.

loobylou10 · 25/01/2022 13:16

Thanks for the clarification. (I do understand the difference between wages and salaries though - it was simply a turn of phrase).


SarahAndQuack · 25/01/2022 13:37

@SamphiretheStickerist, your post reminded me of a particularly mathematically-challenged student I once had, who concluded I personally received 9k from each student I taught. Grin


SamphiretheStickerist · 25/01/2022 13:42


God, I might have stayed if that was the case @SarahAndQuack


SpinsForGin · 25/01/2022 13:55

[quote SarahAndQuack]@SamphiretheStickerist, your post reminded me of a particularly mathematically-challenged student I once had, who concluded I personally received 9k from each student I taught. Grin[/quote]
I once had a student who worked out how much I was being paid per hour based on the number of students in the room..... he wasn't so cocky when i asked him how did he think the catering staff, cleaners, admin, careers, librarians, finance, marketing, well being staff etc get paid! or how we paid for electricity, water, gas, books, subscriptions to journals, lab equipment etc....


ChiaraRimini · 26/01/2022 09:14

What would actually help is if students got some real world work experience before going to uni. Then they might have grown up a bit and learnt to organise themselves.
I used to interview a lot of graduates and the ones with work experience eg from a summer placement or gap year were always head and shoulders above the others in terms of attitude.
I have two kids at Uni now, both worked during gap years and they have both been shocked at how helpless some of their fellow students are.


Ronacorona · 31/01/2022 08:28

It's now beg of the second term, all students should know the protocols of turning up on time and prepared with all their notes, read their emails and pass to get in.

I can understand the first few weeks having teething problems but thereafter, the students ought to be totally organised by now.


ineedsun · 31/01/2022 08:40

What about those with additional learning needs who struggled to navigate the forms and process to get help?


acfree123 · 31/01/2022 09:46

What about those with additional learning needs who struggled to navigate the forms and process to get help?

The OP was not about such students. Students with additional learning needs have statements of their needs which are communicated to lecturers, and all required support for these students is implemented.


SpinsForGin · 31/01/2022 10:05


What about those with additional learning needs who struggled to navigate the forms and process to get help?

We know about these students and supporting them accordingly. The OP wasn't talking about these types of students.

ineedsun · 31/01/2022 10:59

I know about the process, I’ve worked as an academic and in student support. The process for accessing a learning contract is complicated and lengthy, particularly for people who are trying to navigate it alone and are dyslexic / dyspraxic. I’d also say that on larger courses most academics don’t know if someone has a learning contract unless they have some sort of direct need to know.

@Ronacorona’s point was that after the first few weeks people should know what they’re doing. It’s that which I was replying to.


worstofbothworlds · 31/01/2022 12:08

Maybe they have issues with executive function - these are the sort of things my ds with ASD might do.
In that case, the people who should support them are Student Support/Disability Support not the lecturer.


ineedsun · 31/01/2022 17:53

Have you heard of the disability discrimination act / reasonable adjustments? Whole university approach?


worstofbothworlds · 31/01/2022 19:54

Indeed I have. That's why universities have Disabled Students' Offices and arrange PAs for students that need them but I'm not a PA.


BitcherOfBlakiven · 31/01/2022 19:56

PAs aren’t handed out to students with executive function issues. You should know that.


HMG107 · 31/01/2022 20:02

Plus only those who already have a diagnostic assessment are eligible for disability support. Many students who have executive functioning issues do not start university with a diagnosis.


worstofbothworlds · 31/01/2022 20:46

Ours provides advice to all students with this type of needs, and many students get a diagnosis at university.
I'm not a PA and I don't have the time to do this kind of organisational support.


ineedsun · 31/01/2022 20:50

You think you have to be a PA to open a door to someone you’re actually meeting?

Students don’t have PAs, if they qualify for DSA they might be eligible for a mentor but they don’t have PAs. Do you understand the support available to your students?


worstofbothworlds · 31/01/2022 21:42

Some students do have PAs.

I have not said I wouldn't open a door (that's the OP) but I'm not there to provide organisational support.


Workyticket · 01/02/2022 21:38

If the student had additional needs the op would have mentioned it.

I set mine a homework assignment every week. It's open until 5pm the day before their class. I mark and return them in my own time - they don't count towards grades but give the students the opportunity to receive feedback every week.

We're on week 19 (FE, not HE) and this week I've had
-i missed the deadline, here's some shit photos of my work, can you mark it? In class, when I'm teaching 27 students. Nope!
-i couldn't find the homework, can you re-send it? At 4.50pm. Nope!
-i couldn't do the homework, my Teams password isn't working (they know to email me to have it re-set)
-9.21 pm on Saturday night 're-set my password' No please, thanks, kiss my arse. Obviously I didn't see that until I logged in during work hours

These are adults!

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