I can tell it’s Thanksgiving week

How do I know? My class with 20 enrolled had an attendance of 4 in person and 3 over Zoom. Thirteen ghosts! I make it easy for them because in addition to the in-person and zoom option, I also record everything and put that online.

I do rather miss having students right there, interacting with the material. It limits what I can do.

Anyway, I can now say in good conscience that I won’t be lecturing on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, because I know from past experience that hardly anyone will show up. Wednesday will be a play day, I’ve got a few science-related games I’ll bring in. If no one at all shows up, I’ll go hang out with my spiders for a while. They love me, at least.

Also, the second worst day for attendance is the Friday of deer hunting season, which hits in early November.


  1. mathman85 says

    My university is closed on Wednesday, but I made the questionable tactical decision to schedule a midterm today. Attendance has been unusually good, but I did have to give a number of preëmptive makeup tests to students who wanted or needed to head out for Thanksgiving early.

  2. hemidactylus says

    Can the deer hunters get extra credit if they turn in a descriptive and illustrated account of gutting and dressing the deer since it’s anatomy and fits under biology? Same goes for fishing I suppose.

  3. rockwhisperer says

    When I was studying for my geology MS in the mid-late 2000s, my instructors tended to have “play day” plans in their back pockets, because stuff happens. If a lecture was scheduled the day before Thanksgiving, that was often a good play day. The department had a wealth of software simulations of physical processes that could be used for play days. Another popular play day option was a data analysis project.

    Because this is a commuter school, students rarely missed all of Thanksgiving week, and a majority didn’t even miss the day before. I can’t ever remember a midterm that week, however.

    Very rarely, an instructor actually cancelled a lecture because of um, litter box deposits hitting their personal fans. They were a very dedicated group of teachers.

  4. inflection says

    We’re in a remote part of a very snowy state so we give students the entire Thanksgiving week in anticipation of travel needs, so Friday was our last class day before the holiday.

    I think it’s a poor decision, honestly. It doesn’t help – more than half my classes were gone, just like every year. They’re still out the door Thursday and begging us for makeups and homework extensions and all that nonsense.

    Of course, a loss is felt more keenly than a gain, so extending the school year to match our downstate peers by adding Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week back would, of course, be met with howls of indignation.

    I try to respect my students as human beings with lives and needs and circumstances that don’t have anything to do with the math I teach them, I really do. But this particular crud grinds my gears every single year. I’ve done the calculation with a typical load and tuition plus room and board; you paid about $36 for the hour you sit in my teched-up, well-supplied classroom and/or lecture hall. And you just light it on fire. Hope you studied the section from Friday’s class because I’m not repeating the lecture.