Here at DePaul we’re in the eighth week of the quarter. There are only eleven weeks overall, including final exam week, so the end is almost here. Today is one of my work-at-home days, and I’m spending part of it grading. And the number of students who completely checked out on this assignment boggles my mind. Yes, I know the quarter is grueling and the post-midterm time is the toughest. Yes, I know this assignment was tougher than previous ones. But some of them didn’t even include the code I provided to them in class as a start on one of the problems, which frankly means that it’s not just this assignment but the class overall that they’re neglecting.

The worst part is that I see this every single quarter. There are always students who slide into not doing assignments, consistently handing in work that’s substandard at best and nearly incomplete at worst. And I feel like there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve tried emailing them, talking to them in class, and other methods of pestering. But the motivation has to come from them, and in some cases it’s just not there. The most heartbreaking cases are the ones who’ve taken my class before, failed, and are back at another try. To see them slide into neglect again just kills me. I wish I had a magic wand I could waive to give them the drive to start the assignments early, ask me questions, and really give it a solid try. If any of you have a wand like that, let me borrow it sometime, ok?