I wrote the post below some time ago. I thought – and think – the student was being manipulative and out of line in general. I still do but I also wonder sometimes in these situations: who is behaving towards her as she is behaving towards me?
WM: I missed my oral presentation last week, because I was sick. Can I make it up?
PZ: No. There is an alternative assignment for people in your situation. The instructions are in the website, at the following address.
Another week passes, and WM still does not come to class. Two days before the alternative assignment is due, he resurfaces by e-mail.
WM: I think it is terribly unfair that I cannot make up my oral presentation. I had created a presentation I really loved and I have not been allowed to give it.
PZ: Yes, these things happen. That is why there was a contingency plan. Had you been in touch before class the day the presentations were given, saying you were ill and asking whether you could reschedule your presentation, we might have been able to make arrangements. But you did not get in touch until almost a week after the presentation day. Now I have not seen you in two weeks, and it was my understanding you were working on the alternative assignment.
WM: It is unfair. I am a hard worker and a sincere person…
PZ (aside): Why is it that in two semesters I have not yet seen evidence of this?
WM: …and your class is already so difficult for me, because I am a visual learner, and yet you expect me also to listen and to speak.
PZ: The alternative assignment is, as you know, a written one.
WM: You are so mean, and so unfair! I pay tuition, you know. Without me, you would have no job!
PZ: And part of my job is to insist on responsibility, and to hold all students to the same standard. I have had you in class for two semesters, and I assure you that if you spent the kind of time studying that you do trying to negotiate on due dates, content of assignments, and grades, you could easily make a B or even an A.