Aug 07, 2020

Roll back roll call!

IT’S 8 A.M. You are desperately trying to hold your eyelids open while hoping against hope that just once the universe would have mercy on your weary soul and class would just magically go away.

And then, like the day you found out there was no Santa Claus, your dream is crushed and in strolls Professor Monotone, clutching the only thing that could make your morning worse — the roll book.

You lay your head down on the desk and ask yourself what you could have possibly done in the previous lifetime to deserve such a torturous fate.

Before you can plan and execute your escape, the ordeal commences and Professor Monotone begins his less than enthusiastic quest to find out which students with last names beginning with A have actually had enough strength of character to show up.

Fifteen minutes later, Monotone is still asking where “Jones” is as you contemplate standing up and screaming, “He’s not here! You’ve asked ten times! At what point does it become obvious that he is simply not here?!”

By the time roll call is almost complete, you can barely even hear Monotone over the roar of your peers talking amongst themselves.

At long last, Monotone closes the roll book as you try to regain your zest for life.

You look up to where the clock on the wall should be to determine just how much of your life was wasted over what you think was at least the last 25 minutes.

You chuckle as you remember that there is no clock and you say silently to yourself, “this must be the reason for that.”

You finally open your notebook and grab your pen and your whole body is ignited with the hope that maybe you will learn something today after all.

Then Monotone asks the class, “Who didn’t I call?” Ten hands go up.

Defeated, you close your notebook, put the cap back on your pen and decide the only way to save yourself is to stay in bed next time.

This scenario is not a fictional account. It is not a joke. This roll call nightmare is actually happening, if not in your classroom, then definitely in the one next door.

A significant amount of time and hard-earned tuition money is being wasted rattling off names, and I say if we can put astronauts on space stations, surely we can think of a better way to determine if someone is present.

I feel the need to make it clear that this is not a personal attack on Professor Monotone. Fresno State students believe in the intelligence of their professors and we are in your class because we know you have a vast amount of knowledge and wisdom to impart on us. We are in your classes because we want to be.

The logical resolution would be to trash the attendance policy.

The last time I checked, one of the goals of college was to teach you to be a responsible, productive adult capable of making the right choices to better your future. If you don’t go to class, you probably are not going to do well in that class.

Sometimes you learn more when you fail.

But if we must continue down this prehistoric path of treating everyone like an inmate to be signed in and signed out on a daily basis, I propose a different plan.
That’s right, Monotone. Burn that roll book. Because you know you hate it, too.

If you teach a class where something is due everyday, take roll that way.

If that seems excessive and too demanding on yourself and your students, pass around a sign-in sheet. Pass it around once, at the beginning of class, and require that all students signing be there at the beginning to sign it — because those coming in 20 minutes late have missed their opportunity. If you fear forgery, require students to also write their student I.D. numbers beside their names to ensure the person getting credit for attendance is indeed the person signing for it.

A big, glorious high-five to all those professors that have already adopted or are planning to adopt such a brave new policy.

I bet your classes are always full.

Megan O’Laughlin is a senior at Fresno State majoring in mass communication and journalism with an emphasis in print journalism.

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