Finals week is a time with a certain amount of expected drama. All of the courses wind to a close, with projects and tests cranking up the stress of the students. It is also a time when procrastination comes home to roost. Students who tell themselves, “it’s okay, I’ll learn it tomorrow” find that they are out of tomorrows, and still need to know things.
This long preamble is just me saying that students get stressed out, and will sometimes act out. It seems every other quarter there is a student who bursts into tears or has a panic attack during a final exam. It comes with territory.
This finals week has had some drama. A few days before there was a spate of emails confirming when we had the final exams, asking about grades, panic over topics, and so on. Then a few minutes before the final one student tells me that he was due in court shortly. I couldn’t hold it back, “Really? You should have let me know before today.” He said he knew, and that he would try to make it back as fast as he could. And the student who had medical issues the week before, who missed a test.
And… and… and…
The final starts. Ten minutes into the test the website hosting the final assessment crashed. I ask the students to be patient, and after about 5 minutes the site comes back up… sort of. The site is up and down over the next 20 minutes, so I’m busy reassuring them and encouraging them to refresh the site. Finally, the site is stable, and the students are getting back in the groove. Nobody is bursting into tears. Halfway through, a student waves me over and tells me that he just got a text that his wife is going into the emergency room, and needed to step out (“Okay, go be a good husband”).
The test goes on.
After the last person finished, I drop off class material at my desk. Then I check my mailbox to find a note from another student, and wondered if they could take it at home.
Really? It seems my students saved up their drama for the final. I want to bang my head against the wall now.
But I will get to bang my head against grading and stuff.
Send a search party if I don’t regain consciousness by Monday.