Tuesday, 2 December 2008


I like people. I usually trust people until they give me reason not to - yes, sometimes I get hurt that way, but I think it's better that than living in permanent suspicion and cynicism. I believe that most people are good people most of the time.

But today I'm disappointed. Today, people - specific and general - let me down.

One of my former students who is academically Very Bright had asked me to write a reference for his postgraduate applications. I learned through various grapevines before I agreed to this that other members of staff had refused because of his appallingly bad attendance. I decided, particularly because his attendance had not been too bad in my classes, and his record showed that his attendance this year was much better than last, that it would be unfair to condemn someone so Very Bright forever in academia because he didn't have his act together in his second year. If he were a student in Scotland, he would have had another year to redeem himself before such judgements were made. So, I agreed to write his references. He asked that I mention the particularly high grade he received for an independently planned and researched extended essay, and I said I would, of course, but to maintain my own and the Institution's academic integrity, I would also have to mention the disciplinary action over his attendance in the previous year. I would, I said, try to make this more positive by emphasising the drastic improvement in his attendance this year. I haven't been able to write them before today, and I happened to mention this to Colleague Who Worries Too Much (she is teaching this student this year), and it turns out that since I said I'd mention that his attendance was much improved, he has missed 3 or 4 classes without giving a reason. Now this may be a coincidence, but I'm not sure I haven't been manipulated here. I am taking the comments on his drastic improvement out of my reference.

More generally, I slipped and fell down some stairs today. Nothing is broken, and there is no major injury, although my ankles are aching a little. But I was in a very public place, and there were lots of people around - in and outside shops, standing in groups, wandering past - and not one of them, despite my loud shout of surprise / pain even looked to see if I was OK. Not a single one of them.

You let me down today, people. You let me down.


The Shrink of Virtue said...

The number of times i have fallen down stairs and got no reaction from passing strangers... and now i work in a hospital where old ladies frequently slip outside the doors to A&E and again nobody does anything (apart from obviously any passing A&E staff) but the general public disappoint me and it makes me sad too :-(

Autumn Song said...


On the other side, on my way to the bus stop this morning, a girl stopped to tell me to be careful because the path got REALLY slippy on the way down the hill.

I stick with my first thought: most people are good people most of the time.