Thursday, November 30, 2006

What if they had a law class and nobody came?

I'm in a wee bit of trouble right now. There's a class I basically haven't gone to since October, and this weekend I was looking over the syllabus and discovered attendance is mandatory. Failure to appear can affect your grade. So that had me worried enough, but then this morning I got an email from the professor observing my failed attendance. Actually, he got it wrong, because he says I haven't shown up since the first day, when I actually showed up all through September. And he cc: the Dean of Students, which I thought was a little unnecessary.

I'm sort of caught between feeling guilty and mad right now. Guilty, because, yes, it does say on the syllabus that attendance is mandatory...even though none of my other post-1L classes have had such a requirement. And I'm a little mad, because, really, what does he care if I show up to class? Really. What does he care? I would think his dream scenario would be one in which none of the students showed up. That why we'd be paying him to basically hand out a syllabus and grade a final exam. I'd think that would be a dream job.

Attendance requirements generally have sort of frustrated me. I think they're a testament to the institutionalized entrenchment of academia. We lose sight of the fact that, ultimately, this is just a service we're being provided. That's all it is. When I buy a car, there's no requirement that I drive it. When I buy a house, there's no requirement that I live in it. So why is it, when I'm paying for classes, that I'm required to attend all of them?

The more I think about it, the more I think about how silly attendance requirements are. But I have to aim for contrition now, so I must dispel them from my mind.

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