Friday, February 29, 2008

You'll Still Need to Learn Math to Pass This Class

At the beginning of the semester one of my students self-disclosed to me that she has a medical condition. This is not a trifling medical condition; in fact, it is one of the top ten leading causes of death for her demographic group. I understand that it is very important for her to seek appropriate medical attention and that this may cause her to miss class and to have trouble completing assignments on time.

She hasn't brought me any documentation from disability services, her doctor, or anyone else.

Every once in a while I think that she has dropped because she'll be absent for over a week. But then she'll be back for a day; at the end of class she'll apologize, explain that her medical situation has been an issue, and will claim that she's planning on getting caught up on the work and will get it to me soon. Then she'll disappear again.

I've decided to take the path of least resistance and to ignore the situation as much as possible. I figure that her doctor and her family can give her much better advice about managing her responsibilities and choosing where to focus her energy. If she hands in any work or shows up for any exams, I'll grade them. Since not coming to class and not doing homework tend to be correlated with not learning math, it doesn't really matter whether or not I enforce policies about deadlines and absences. I can be flexible and can adapt the course to accommodate her situation. But she's still going to have to demonstrate that she knows some math.