Posted in anger, family, life, love

A Special Kind of Jerk

Be prepared.

If it were in my power, heads would roll.

If I could unleash my inner “mama  bear,” I would let loose with a fresh hell like no one has ever seen.

Hide the can openers, because I definitely want to open up a can of whoop-ass on a college professor who does not deserve his title or position.


That night in early April was particularly bad — my daughter’s dog, Evelyn threw up three times in the early hours, and then again as my girl started to put her in the car to take her to the vet. She’d lost a tremendous amount of weight for a dog her size in only a month, and she struggled to keep the boiled egg or diced chicken down that we cooked for her. The once spunky pup had no energy and spent the majority of her days lying quietly on the floor or the couch. She’d had X-rays that indicated an enlarged heart, and some suspicious masses that could be cancerous. There were additional tests that could be run, but no guarantee, and in the meantime she was suffering.

My girl had to make the very difficult decision to have her sweet Evelyn put to sleep that afternoon. With the vet’s counsel, it was agreed this was the best course of action, to save her any additional suffering. In the middle of the heartbreaking decision, Jami sent her professor an email explaining that her dog was very ill and she was having to have her put to sleep. She asked if she could reschedule the exam she was supposed to take later in the day.

The professor responded with a  very curt “You can take it at 5:30 this evening or get a zero. Sorry.”

There are those who might say, “It’s just a dog. It’s not worth flunking a test or damaging your grade point average.” Whatever. Jami saw her puppy being born into this world, and eight years later, she stood by the examination table holding her precious pup as she slipped away, tears streaming down her face. She told me that she had thought about it and taking the test or skipping the test wouldn’t matter — she would not do well either way.

At her request, I left her there to grieve her loss.

Some time has passed and we are doing better, but even now we will get a little weepy when we think of that crazy sweet girl we love so much.


I guess you can imagine how angry it made both of us when we discovered the “professor” read my daughter’s email aloud to his class this semester as an example of how “there is no excuse that will persuade me to let you take a makeup exam.”

He did not read her name, but a friend in the class recognized the email as hers.

If I could have his job, I would. I want to write a letter to the administration, but my girl said that if anyone writes a letter, it needs to be her. I asked her if I could blog about it, and she gave me permission.

So here I am, Mama Bear, venting my fury on the interwebs. He exploited my daughter’s grief to make himself look tough and powerful. It’s a special kind of jerk that can take joy in someone else’s pain. I’m not going to call him out by name, but his last name starts with an “S.” I think it may stand for “Sorry Excuse for a Human.” 😡

Author:

I'm a scribbler and a shutterbug.

7 thoughts on “A Special Kind of Jerk

  1. It does indeed take a special kind of jerk to do such things. Regrettably the world is full of such people, who often have a little power and do these types of things to demonstrate it. But the world is full of good people who truly care too, and hopefully one of them can make a difference

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  2. I’m with your daughter on this one. It should be HER that writes the school and complains. Not you. She needs to fight her battles. He was within his rights to set his limits for her taking the test. My husband missed a final exam his last semester in college because he was at the hospital attending the birth of our son. He called the professor and explained and the professor said, is the baby born? Then I expect you here at 8 am tomorrow morning with proof of birth in hand. He was there. 🙂 While he had the right to set the time limit she had the choice to take the test or not and accept the consequences of her actions. But what he did by reading the email outloud was very unprofessional, especially in a small school like that. In a large university that has 30,000 kids through the door each day it would not have been such an issue and she might never have known about it. His sharing in a small setting is the real complaint and one she needs to decide if it is worth pursuing or not.

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    1. After I calmed down, I came to that conclusion, too (that she should write the letter, if a letter is written). None of us have an issue with his right to allow or deny rescheduling of the exam. In fact, I asked her that afternoon if she would try to take the exam at 5:30 pm (which was only about two hours after the vet appointment). She was a mess and I honestly don’t think it would have made a difference. She explained that he always dropped the lowest grade – so she was okay with it, even if his lack of sympathy didn’t do a lot for her opinion of him. So she chose to skip the exam, knowing she would have to really do well on the remaining assignments since her “freebie” would be gone.

      My aunt shared a story with me earlier about one of her nursing school instructors. It’s a long story, so I’ll try to tell it briefly: after her father died, her mother (my grandma) had some serious health issues that required some invasive testing. My aunt asked to miss a clinical to be with her mother. The instructor said she could, but she would have to do another assignment that would take between 6-8 hours that she didn’t have, in light of the fact that she had other classes, a husband, three tween/teenage children… you get the picture. My mom ended up offering to go be with my grandma, but I know my aunt was very stressed not being able to be with her mother.

      While some of these experiences just seem wrong, I guess it’s good training for real life. You don’t always get to “call in” when something comes up. There are jerks in the world, in every walk of life, and you have to learn how to deal with them. Our issue is with his reading of the email aloud in class. To quote my junior college English teacher, “He who wields the red pen holds the power!” It is true. It is also true that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This guy is just a sorry piece of work, in my opinion.

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  3. How cruel, how snide—the latter making this professor sound particularly small. Nor can I blame you for being furious…if near strangers are angry, you must be about to (or recovering from) blow your top!

    Some folks seem so invested in not only being, but displaying their own superiority…there isn’t much we can do but just walk away if possible, and to otherwise let it “roll off like water off a duck’s back”, as my mother used to say. I’m terribly sorry for sweet, darling Jami…but also so impressed by and proud of her response. Her professor behaved terribly unprofessionally; she, the student, thus far seems to have the upper hand in behaviour. I think she’ll be okay.

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