Posted by: codecalla | February 28, 2013

“Dread Pirate” Professor

Recently I had a student ask if they could bring their child into the college classroom.  I have had children in classes before, but everyone wanted to ooh and ahh over the child, and work was precious little.  From experience and because there are these rules for good reasons, I stick with the policy of the institutions I work for, which is that no children are allowed.

Unfortunately my student asked in the middle of class and I had the other students look at me as if I were Dread Pirate Roberts for refusing.  Then two students wanted to argue with me over the policy, whether it existed or not, because other professors had no problem with it.

I apologized and said I was sticking to the policy as I knew it, and I couldn’t speak for the other professors (and more particularly what I didn’t say: since it was especially problematic that these occurrences were undocumented and only word of mouth via the students.  No proof…no way).

This is a challenging issue.  Single parents should have support when they must attend classes, and make arrangements for their children, and in the case they cannot, seek out other assistance.  As a professor, my first duty is to make sure that the class continues on its course without disruption and they are focused on the tasks at hand.

However, I am now in the process of discovering the exact policy, as I wish to make certain I spoke correctly.  For one college, there’s a strict policy, but the other, I’m not certain about.  I won’t change my mind, but I do want to make certain of the details, and then speak with the student privately.  Next time, I will suggest that such questions be asked after class, not during the Q & A session on their projects.



  1. Definitely no kids! Same could be said of mobile phones and other such distractions that we didn’t have 20 years ago.

    Call me old fashioned but I’m with Grantley Budgen from ‘Waterloo Road’ – Long Live Grantley. . . .

    • Mobile phones are a problem, along with tablets and any other electronic devices. I keep working at keeping students focused on task. To be honest, this situation really bothered me, because I could not give a positive answer for the student in question, and I prefer to help people as much as possible. In this case, however, I can not allow it.

    • I looked into the issue of children in the classroom, which there is no formal policy for one of my places of employment. The other has strict guidelines. The university relies on the professors to make the decision of whether to allow children in the classroom, but it’s an unstated policy or expectation that there will not be children present.

      • Classrooms are classrooms and creches are creches and nre the twain shall meet
        OR as we say in England – I like kids but I couldn’t eat a whole one!

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