On Campus

When no one shows

Large classes have the benefit of having so many students that at least a few are bound to show up.

I like small classes in general — I get to know the students by name and we can have real conversations about course material. But these days — partly because of declining enrollment in the program I teach in and partly because I have a reputation for being a tough marker — some of my classes are too small.

That fact was driven home to me today. The weather has been bad but not quite bad enough to close the university. So I came in and dutifully tromped off to my classroom. And nobody showed up.

Actually, it was worse than that. One person showed up. If no one had been there, I could have left without thinking too much more about it. Nobody there means nobody to teach. But with one person, I had a dilemma. Cancel the class and I feel bad for this one woman who made the effort to be there. Teach the class and it’s just plain weird. So we talked it over and she seemed like she would not feel too hard done by if it was cancelled, so we left.

Moments ago, another student showed up at my office wondering what happened to class — turns out she was just really late.

I have to get some more students.

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