Mercury Retrograde or Not

So, it’s been a long time. I’ve been working, a lot. And Mercury was retrograde. This particular Mercury retrograde was brutal for me; things happened that I still do not understand. And I have decided that I’m not sure I want to and that I just have to keep on keeping on.

Working with students has been quite an adventure. It is exhilarating and exhausting. I often don’t understand them; let’s pay upwards of $40,000 and then don’t show up for class, don’t do assignments—even when offered extensions. Or worse, show up for class, appear to be doing assignments, and then don’t turn them in—what’s that about?

This term I have given my students a number so that they can send me texts. You know, let’s keep up with the technology, communication. On the one hand, I have fewer students who are AWOL, fewer who don’t finish assignments because they didn’t understand, and many grateful that I am willing to communicate that way. But every barrel has at least one bad apple. Yesterday, a student, who didn’t show up for class, sent me a text during class to ask questions about her grade. Really? You’re going to do that?

“Why did I get a low grade on my presentation?”

“Because you’re not here to present it?”

“But I did the work!”

“Yes, which is why you didn’t get a zero.” I wish I could italicize in texts and on Facebook.

“But what I did was good.”

“Yes, but you didn’t present it. It was a presentation assignment.”

“I don’t think that’s fair. I didn’t even know I had class today.” (side note: we are five weeks into the term)

“I am currently in the classroom with students who read the syllabus and know the schedule, if you would like to have a protracted discussion about this, you need to email me.”

“What? I don’t understand what you are saying.”

I reread the text and decided protracted might be throwing her, “If you want to keep talking about this, send me an email.”

She is the only student to want to carry on extended conversations via text, but I’ve gotten some pretty interesting messages:

Student: “I’ll be late.”

Me: “Who is this?”

Student: “Me.”

Me: “Right.” Or…

Student: “Do we have homework?”

Me: “Class is just starting.”

Student: “I know, but I’m not coming, I just need the assignment. Me and my mom are going shopping.” (punctuation added by me)

Me: “My mom and I.”

Student: “What?”

Me: “ Ok, so for homework you must write a three page research paper on the benefits of showing up to class (on time and prepared), and an additional one page paper on the proper use of subject pronouns.”

Student: “ I don’t know what that means. Does that mean I have to come to class?”

Me: “Maybe.”

And my favorite, without identifying himself: “i can’t come to class today my best friend is turning 21” I figured out who he was by process of elimination while taking attendance.

Mercury was not retrograde during any of these conversations. This is the future. Be afraid.

In other news, I have had 2 reviews published on


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