I missed a deadline last week. I teach at ABC College, a proprietary school that is well-known for strict faculty grading deadlines, and I missed one. I was aware of what I was doing and was willing to accept the consequences. I had 48 hours to return feedback on assignments in two sections of the same class, and the deadline fell while I had a sinus infection. I could have tried to get the grading completed, but I chose rest and pain medications. I did get the grading done the next day and I know it was better feedback than I could have provided in the given timeline.
After missing the deadline, I woke expecting some sort of fall-out. I had heard many rumors in my online newsgroup and from friends that those grade columns are monitored and negative feedback would come if I missed a grading deadline. I opened my email with some sense of dread-nothing there. I checked the classroom-again nothing. I went through the rest of the day waiting for some sort of reprimand and went to bed that night to silence. I have been waiting ever since for lightening to strike, and it never has.
I am now wondering if the rumors may be false. Has this school gotten a bad reputation without cause? Is the image of micro-managing adjunct faculty really wrong? It could be. My guess is that the classroom grade postings are not really monitored to the hour, but are checked on if there is a student complaint. I have always gotten feedback in on-time, and this instance was only one-day late, so maybe the students were not upset. I have just moved forward with my work and so have the students. This one slip may be a non-issue, but I still am on edge and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I know many online instructors dislike this school because of the grading and feedback deadlines. I am really not that opposed to the deadlines. The work needs to be returned to the students in a timely manner so that they can see the feedback and incorporate the changes in their next assignments. The students are required to turn their work in on-time or they are penalized. I am fine with having the same standards for my feedback. I should be leading by example in the classroom, not take liberties just because I am the faculty member. I also have to admit that the deadlines keep me on-task and prevent procrastination. When I juggle so many classes, it helps to have set deadlines to help prioritize the workload.
Are the rumors untrue? Is ABC college really not watching every faculty member’s move? I have often gone against the group views with my opinions of this school. Am I just lucky and managed to not get caught? Or do I have a good track record and the micro-managers are busy watching other faculty members? I would like to think that ABC College treats their faculty better than the popular opinion. I would also like to think my long period of service and teaching record is making me less of a target for ABC College to micromanage.
I know a warning could still be forth-coming. I have not had a peer-review in quite a few months, so one of these two sections could be picked. The reviewer could notice the late grade posting and it could could come to light. I am willing to take the the feedback and any reprimand that come my way. I do have to admit that I am still looking over my shoulder; the waiting is the hard part. Maybe it would have been easier to have been caught and know the consequences.