Whenever I teach large lower-level courses, I have at least one. Occasionally more, but one for sure, and it’s usually just the one.
The student who requires more mental real-estate than the rest of the giant class put together.
The one this semester isn’t too bad; he’s not as demanding as some I had in the past, but it’s only week three… We might be in for a long semester.
Over a month before the semester starts, the student informs me he will miss the first class just because and could I send him the materials; I do, to which he complains they are last offering’s materials, and could he have this year’s (they don’t yet exist, kid). Also, when will the exams be, so he can plan his travel (FFS kid, it’s over a month till the semester starts).
Upon learning when the exams will be, the student asks that I accommodate his religious observance for one of the midterm exams, which sure, I will do it because it’s required, but it doesn’t make me delighted as the class is giant and I already have people needing extra time and/or a small testing room and whatnot. The university just wants us to go along with these accommodations without giving a shit as to whose time goes into it, or where these accommodations take place, or that humans cannot be in multiple places at once. But alright.
Then the semester starts and the student is somehow the only one who cannot upload his homework files using the online course management system and I need to worry about keeping track of his emailed materials. No one else in class has any issues with the system.
Then the kid can’t sit with the rest of the class in the large classroom, he has to pull in a desk from elsewhere so he can sit very close to the board. (I’m not sure he’s following all that well, based on the questions he asks. He hasn’t been to any office hours, though.)
Then the student just has to travel home on Thursday and miss the Friday lecture (it’s week three of the semester and it’s not a holiday; maybe someone’s sick or there’s another good reason, but it seems to be just because). Could I send him all the materials? How will he know what he missed? (Kid, you have course notes, you have the book, you have the syllabus, I write on the course website what we cover. What I say in class is what I say in class, that’s why we have lectures that you shouldn’t miss. Not sure what else to tell you — get someone’s notes.)
Any one of these is not a big deal, but together they paint a picture of someone who’s quite high maintenance.
I wonder what happens to these kids as they join the workforce. I can’t imagine the ‘real world’ will have much patience with myriad requests for exceptions.