After two good weeks in class, I get another email from the assistant dean saying another student has dropped. Another one of those advanced standing students who didn't even need to be there clogging up my class cause they'd already taken its equivalent in the BSW program.
So the dean's email to me went like this:
***** has dropped the policy course. She is another advanced standing student who is not required to take the course.
Hope things are going okay with your class. Let me know if I can be helpful.
Well, my last respond to the mass exodus was oh poor me, what did I do wrong. But not this time. This time I put it back on them, where it belonged. This is my response:
Thanks again for letting me know. Despite the expressed intentions of the other 4, only one bothered to email me and let me know they had dropped the course. And none of them expressed a concern to me before withdrawing, despite the fact that the rest of the class has no problem communicating concerns to me before and after class and via email.
I think it's telling that 5 of the 6 students who dropped were advanced standing students. If these students were upset at feeling forced into the only course available in that time period, then they might have been unhappy regardless of the professor or course content, especially if it's a course they've already taken. I do know that many of the remaining students were upset with the students who withdrew, because it forced a re-grouping (the students work in groups for the semester) four weeks into the semester, when most of the groups were already fully engaged. Apparently, none of the students who withdrew even bothered to let their group members know they planned to leave. I have heard a bit of gossip from some of the remaining students as I've walked by in the hall, but I'll chalk it up to hurt feelings from those in the abandoned groups, as it puts those who withdrew in a decidedly bad light.
All I can say is that the last two weeks in class without the students who withdrew have gone very smoothly. The remaining students are attentive, ask questions, give anecdotal examples of issues from their own jobs in the field, and a small handful are actually excited about the course despite the fact that it's 'required, not elective' in their words -- which is wonderful, considering the trepidation with which most students face policy courses.
So, I'm not taking it lying down anymore. So there.