Need Advice / Storytime


Alright, so this is a story about my biology teacher in college. As a preface, I'd like to say that I go to community college in a rural area of Texas. Because it's just a "center" and not a full campus, classes are pretty limited which means this is the ONLY biology class they offered this semester so I did not have a choice of taking a different course/teacher or dropping the class as I need the credit hours to transfer to a 4 year school.

Now time for the problem.

My teacher counts being late as being absent, even if you get there 1 second after he has called your name on roll. He also counts attendance as 10% of your overall grade.

I didn't think anything of it, as professors understand students have other obligations such as work and will allow you to be a few minutes late, especially if you tell them your situation. Normally, attendance is not an issue (I have never missed a single day of college yet), and I have a 4.0 GPA which means I have straight A's.

However, one of my friends told me our biology teacher gave her 5 absences, even though she's missed just 1 day. This made me wonder about my attendance, since I have been late by 1 or 2 minutes quite often. I asked him today, and he showed me a 50% attendance average.

Now for some math. Getting a B would ruin my 4.0, and make getting financial aid considerably harder. This is very important to me as I am poor and need all the financial aid I can get. Our biology grades are calculated like this: attendance = 10% of grade, lab grade = 25% of grade (70% of that is lab manuals, 30% is lab quizzes), and 65% of the final grade is exams. If you plug in my grades, the formula looks like this:
(50*0.1) + (((95*0.3)+(96.5*0.7))*0.25) + (87.75*0.65) which equals 86.05, a B. If I had 100% attendance like I believe I should have, it would be 91.05, an A.

Now that you understand the effect attendance would have on my final grade, let me tell you why I think I deserve the 100% attendance.

First of all, class starts at 12PM. From work, I have a 45 minute drive to college and I get done working at 11:15PM. This can vary some times, and some days I do not have work which are the days I am not late(I work for a small local landscape company if you're curious). This creates a close window, and usually 45 minutes is not enough time to get to class due to traffic, although I am never more than 5 minutes late and sometimes do manage to make it on time.

Secondly, my professor also takes attendance for lab (which starts 15min after class ends). The class and the lab are literally in the same building, next door to each other. How is it physically possible to be late for this, you ask? It's not really. But, I have "absences" in this as well, despite always being there for the quiz which he gives at the start of lab and remaining there for the entirety of the lab except for rare times when I need to leave the classroom to go to the bathroom.

I only have a few absences here, but enough to make a difference. I assumed roll was taken at the beginning of lab or at the very least while people are taking the lab quiz, but it seems it is taken at random. If I have to go to the bathroom, I will usually do it after I hand in the quiz and am back before lab work starts. Today my professor counted me as late. However, what really happened is I went to the bathroom after the quiz. I even asked him a question as he was handing the quiz out so obviously I was there and not late. I can only assume the other absences are for the same reason, or he just missed me (he doesn't call your name, just looks around the room to see if you're there).

When I talked to my professor about it after I was done with lab he yelled at me in front of everyone saying he was sick of people making excuses for things, and that he would not change it. That he had to draw the line somewhere and he was drawing it here. I have never made an excuse on anything in biology before, and I have been in class every day. This was the final straw for me, as not only is he a bad teacher (doesn't answer questions, tests us on stuff that's not part of his lecture or notes), but he was pretty rude in front of the class to me and told me to drop the class if I didn't like it. Not only that, but I feel like I am being penalized for having a job.

So, I went to the office to see if there was anything they could do. I explained the situation and the lady made an appointment for me with someone who can help next Tuesday. What do you think? Do I actually have a chance of them doing something? What can they even do? And will they help?

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  • 2

    All I can say is don't be late and hope that the financial aid people people are reasonable folks and can see that you are a good student and whatever crawled up your teacher's ass has a thing about attendance. This has been drunk advice with Rob.

    Haha that was very tame drunken advice :)
    - Rmax November 30, 2012, 2:52 am
    I'm a lover not a fighter.
    - triclebickle November 30, 2012, 3:10 am
    On the front line with a poem?
    - Rmax November 30, 2012, 3:34 am
    That sounds dangerous.
    - triclebickle November 30, 2012, 3:38 am
    I does. Did I scare you?
    - Rmax November 30, 2012, 3:47 am
    You scared a drunk man.
    - triclebickle November 30, 2012, 3:52 am
  • 1

    That is totally unfair and you are obviously a good student. He sounds like he is on a bit of a power trip and hopefully if you bring this to the attantion of management they will assist you. Worse case scenario is that they do sweet fuck all, however, if there have been other complaints / queeries regarding this I would assume they would be obliged to do something. Do you have a student liason / support officer that can recomend a course of action? Perhaps you should have a chat to your fellow class mates and see if they are having issues (or at least sympathising with your situation) as there is often more sway in numbers. If you do go ahead and approach admin in a group with complaints, your Prof will more than likley feel attacked and become worse - so perhaps give him a friendly warning (disgiused as an inquiry toward his actions / reasoning). Threats can be effective and I'm sure part of his job / KPI's are student satisfaction.... If none of this works, hire a hooker to blow him and take incriminating photos lol. Fear not friend, there is always a way around thigs like this......

    • Rmax
    • November 30, 2012, 1:56 am

    This was pretty much the scene in my house from when I found out my grade was a B till 2 days ago:
    - casper667 December 15, 2012, 9:14 am
    Awesome well done!! Hard work will (generally) always prevail :) Congrats bud!!
    - Rmax December 17, 2012, 3:00 am
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