Communicating with my students

Wow, what a holiday break.  In truth, because of the way I teach, I don’t ever really get breaks.  It’s part of the bonus that I can teach from wherever I want, so I can teach from San Francisco, London, or Costa Rica, but the downside is that I’m always having to teach.  The same goes for being ill.  I don’t get to just go home and rest, I’m home already, I can rest, but more often than not I just work through whatever is ailing me. I don’t take sick days or even weekends off.  In early December I came down with shingles, which is horrifically painful, and I seriously needed to not work at all.  I just couldn’t, partially because of the pain and fatigue, and also because I couldn’t move my head for a week.   Of course I had what seemed like 10 million essays to grade, feedback to give, and grades to configure, all in the context of panicky students who had been asleep all term and realized that OMG they were failing in the last three days of the class and what can I do to help them.  Bad time to get ill.  What I did was to send all of my students an e-mail and let them know what was happening, what they could expect from me, and what I needed from them.  You know what?  They were awesome.  All of them.  Not only were they sweet, they took responsibility for their actions and their grades, and stopped asking me questions that I couldn’t answer.  This all gave me a “huzzah!” sort of moment: I need to clear some of this stuff upfront.  Even though course rules, deadlines and my expectations are in my syllabi, many students don’t read them entirely, if at all, and they just forget stuff.  I have had FAQ’s in my courses before, but I needed to update them and add to them.  I think that maybe if I put my expectations in different words in a separate spot in the course, that it will help drive some of these points home to my students.  I also need to remember that my students don’t expect for me to be superhuman.  If I’m sick, or if I need to be at a conference or somewhere else, that all I need to do is tell them.  They just want to hear from me, and it will help reduce some of the pressure on me to get everything done yesterday.

I’m off next week to do some research in London and Cornwall.  I’ll be gone for a month.  Normally this all works out well.  I do love my mobility!

3 Responses to “Communicating with my students”

  1. Andy Phillips Says:


    Would like to meet you as I have read your paper “Whose Celtic Cornwall”. I had a paper in the Glastonbury Review a year or two ago after the CERN presentation I gave about Theology of Place.

    I have a training seminar about Cowethas Peran Sans on Sunday 1st Feb at 2.30 PM in Truro Baptist Church.

    I have a blog which is linked on our site.

    Bledhen Noweth Da

    Andy Phillips

  2. Amy Says:

    Hi Andy, nice to hear from you! I won’t be in Cornwall by the time of your presentation, but it sounds very interesting. I’d love to chat with you about the work of Cowethas Peran Sans. Where are you located? I’ll be staying in the Penzance area, with probably a night’s foray into the Falmouth region.

  3. Andy Phillips Says:


    I’m on 07977511353 and email. Let me know when you are likely to be here. I’m away alot so plenty of warning would be good.

    Oll an gwella


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Online Educational Specialist