Too Nice

For a class I am teaching for the first time this semester, I think I have tried to be too nice. The students are pushing and pushing and I finally had to step back and say, “No. You can’t do that.”

I assigned two books. The total cost for those books is $14 plus tax. This is not an onerous sum, but I offered students the option to come read one book (fairly short and an easy read) in my office during office hours.

This is the week the other book is due. Several people asked for other books to read instead of those on the syllabus.

“I have this one I need to read.”
“I own one I haven’t had time to read.”
“I can’t afford to buy this book.”

During class, I said, “Okay, you can read that book you have.” I also said, “Go to this source for free books.”

However, after class I realized that one person already cheated on last week’s homework, which was to watch a movie they’d never seen. Instead he watched his favorite movie. (He’s the second quote up there.)

I also remembered, as I was getting frustrated about that, that the point of this class was to look at overt presentations of a topic in the texts. I have no idea whether their books are overt, but I know not all the free books are.

So I just sent a note saying, you can read the books on the list or you can read this free book. If you want to read anything else at all, you must send an email about it–even though I may have given approval during class.

Hopefully people will just go with the books I’ve approved.