The academic year is still young, but already there is a new trend apparent in Reasons Why Students Can't Take The Exam (on the scheduled day) or Turn In The Homework (on the scheduled day): bed bugs.
Colleagues teaching large intro classes report having students with bed bug crises just before exams.
I personally would believe these students and deal with the make-up exams in my usual way. In fact, it is my policy to believe the students, no matter how many deaths, illnesses, court cases, or insect infestations they have to deal with in a term. I have mentioned before that both of my grandfathers died within 3 weeks of each other; in certain circumstances, it doesn't sound believable, but it happens.
Nevertheless, it is remarkable that my colleagues report no grandparent deaths yet. This is one of those strange little academic pseudo-factoids for which I wish I had more data. Lacking a good mechanisms to poll vast numbers of college and university teachers, the best I can do is ask you, my readers, if you have noticed any bed bugs v. grandma trends in your own classes.
A quick glance at a bed bug map of the US shows some geographical variation in bed bug reports, and there are also likely to be local variations depending on the housing situations of students at different universities. It's possible, however, that bed bugs are the new grandma.
So this is what I am wondering today:
How are grandparents doing relative to bed bugs in the lives of your students this year?
By the way, this is a test. Unlike in my real teaching life, I do not give make-up exams here. I just gave you the essay question, and there is also a multiple-choice question:
This photograph best illustrates or symbolizes which one of the following:
a. Cats at a faculty meeting. (Note: Ignore the presence of comfortable seating and focus only on the salient features of the photo)
b. Feline delusion. Older Gray Cat (right) thought he would be safe lying next to the World's Largest Kitten (left), who was apparently deep in slumber after a long night of stealth, intrigue, and rodent pillage. Older Gray Cat was wrong.
c.The US 2010 elections, with one cat representing the Democrats and one the moderate wing of the Republican party. Cats are depicted debating the issues. Not shown: Tea Party candidate.
57 minutes ago