My day job is university professor. It’s not really a “day” job at all–I do a lot of it at nights, on weekends, and over vacations. I’m department chair too, which adds considerably to the workload. This semester–which comes to an end this week–has been especially long and difficult, with lots of disasters and drama. I will be very, very pleased to see the semester done.
Now is the time of year when I’m getting an especially large volume of emails from students. And here’s where I face a dilemma, because a lot of those emails ask questions the students could easily answer for themselves if they spent a little time on the university website or elsewhere (or reading the syllabus). I guess they find it quicker and easier to email me. Am I being crotchety if I insist they look up the answers themselves?
They are Criminal Justice majors, for one thing. How do they expect to solve crimes if they can’t figure out how to find the university catalog or discern what day their final will be? Plus they are adults who should be capable of solving their own problems without someone else’s intervention. And the laziness galls me too. Maybe it takes them a few seconds to tap out an email, but when I get dozens and dozens of them weekly, answering takes up a good chunk of my time.
When my daughters ask me questions like this, I refuse to be the Momcyclopedia. “Look it up,” I tell them. It’s for their own good. I’m hoping that in a few years they will not be plaguing their professors with questions like, Where’s the dean’s office? and What’s the last day of registration? and Which classes count for GE area F1?
But what about my students? Should I give them the answers? Ignore them? Or tell them to look it up themselves–which takes as long for me to type as just telling them the answer, but might encourage them to future responsibility?