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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Argh! (More School Admin Complaints, Not Pirates)

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Argh! (More School Admin Complaints, Not Pirates)

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As of last night, I still hadn't heard back from either university administrator concerning my questions about Praxis and background checks. So I took it to the next level and emailed the general university education department address, noting that I'd tried to contact one administrator (Ms. S) twice concerning whether I could substitute my GRE scores for Praxis I and had received no reply. Well, guess what? I just received a reply from Ms. S. Telling me to contact another administrator (Ms. C) concerning my background check and Praxis requirements.

The thing is that I did contact this administrator about backgrounds, more than a week ago. I still haven't heard anything. I mentioned that but noted that I'd give it another try concerning Praxis.

When I still worked at the WAU, I'd periodically receive emails with questions that fell outside of my area of authority. How did I handle those? Well, I forwarded them to the person with the authority to answer them and let the sender know that I had done so. If I didn't know who to ask, I forwarded them to the unit commander and let him handle it. I certainly didn't ignore questions and, when pressed, tell the person to email someone else. Am I the stupid one here for thinking that's generally how such matters are handled? That one certainly doesn't continue kicking back emails to the sender with instructions to just go ahead and ask someone else?

It frustrates me that I started this process back over the summer and, due to misinformation and incompetence on the part of university administrators, am now creeping close to the deadline and am still working on it.

ETA! After I made a mild passive-aggressive fuss, both administrators managed to contact me within an hour. One claims not to have received my message--perhaps my address is blocked in their system? Considering that I sent it from my student email account (which, incidentally, I do because I'm always worried my Gmail account will be blocked, ironically), I highly doubt that. In any case, the conclusion is that I can use my SAT scores to get out of Praxis I. I don't really understand why they won't accept GRE if they accept SAT, but I'm not complaining, just as long as I don't have to sit for another ridiculous exam to prove that I can read, write, and do basic arithmetic.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • I strongly doubt that you'll be able to substitute GREs for Praxis, as one is a collegiate entrance exam, and the other a legal requirement. The Praxis isn't that bad - I'd just get on with it, if I were you.

    Likewise with background checks - each institution requires their own anyway, and this time it is a legal requirement.

    Good luck!
    • In Maryland, you can. The problem is that my university is in WV. My husband could actually use his SAT scores for Praxis 1, which measures basic reading and maths abilities and is used by the university, not the school system, to prove that a candidate has the basic smarts to succeed in a classroom before they recommend that person for internship placement. I think that my GRE scores (which were rather high) prove the same thing! :) Hence Maryland, at least, allows one for the other. I know I won't be able to substitute anything for Praxis II, but I don't have to worry about that till I'm actually applying for certification.

      I could have probably passed the Praxis I to the university's standards when I was in third grade. I'm not worried about it, just increasingly annoyed that a simple question has been avoided and deflected more times than I care to count.
    • Conclusion: They won't accept GRE, but they will accept SAT. Weird, that, but I'm not complaining! :)

      Thanks for the well wishes! May the rest go smoothly from here!
  • That really IS very frustrating. And yet ignoring emails and so forth (or "losing" them) is common so far as I can tell, in just about any administrative area.

    The way you did is the way it's supposed to be done. Of course, that doesn't keep higher ups from pretending they didn't get the email or just ignoring it when it's forwarded.

    I think it's sheer laziness, personally. Or their "give a damn" is broken.
    • For all of CSEP's incompetence in many matters, that was just not normal there. If you emailed someone, you expected an answer or forwarding, usually within a few hours or, at most, a day or two. Who ever thought the day would come when I would acknowledge that I must have been spoiled during my time at CSEP! :) Yet it seems that I was, in this matter anyway.
    • (or "losing" them)

      You totally called it! I just heard back from Ms. C, and she claims never to have received my email. My email address, she suggests, might be blocked in their system. BS. I sent it from my student email account. They block emails from their own system?

      In any case, I suppose it proves what they say about the squeaky wheel ... ;)
      • LOL! At least you did finally hear back.

        During his job searching, the DH ran into a lot of that. You know, if the Internet was a sentient being, it might get irritated at how often it gets the blame for things it didn't do. Kind of like the dog who might wonder what "homework" tastes like.
        • You're so right! :D I hear a lot of it through managing different websites that "the website" did something wrong. Sure, sometimes a bug or an outage on the website does cause problems--ironically, the last problem on MPTT was the website's fault, and when I contacted the person about it, she said, "Oh, I thought it was me!"--but most of the time, the user's done something wrong, or the problem originates with the user's connection. But the poor website. It gets blamed for everything! :^P
  • I've read many an article lately stating that common courtesy is nearly extinct. I think what's been happening to you is at least in part due to this. I'm glad you finally heard back and that you don't have to take another test.
    • I think you're right. Now that I live my mostly isolated life in pastoral bliss, whenever I venture outside of my home county, I am appalled at how people drive/behave/interact. (I'm not saying that we're not without our problems up here, but people do tend to be more courteous and don't, for example, treat speed limits as merely gentle suggestions! :D) I suppose the Internet in part is to blame, or technology in general, because it's allowed us to separate ourselves from fellow humans in our communities and interact as screen names and avatars. (I don't think tech makes people misbehave but that it certainly encourages that tendency in those less inclined toward courtesy to start with.)
  • It's crazy for them to pass the same question back and forth and to deny your original email was ever received. I know for a fact that emails forwarded from another person in their system are likely to be handled more quickly than just another in the long queue from the great unwashed masses waiting to be read. It takes the same amount of time to forward your email directly ccing a copy of you than it does to write you back telling you to contact that person.

    Edited at 2010-11-05 04:17 pm (UTC)
    • That was my thought too. I do empathize with the mounds of email I'm sure that most of them receive. (Especially knowing that some of my classmates going through the same application process that I am play a few cards short of a full deck and aren't particularly inclined to try to answer questions for themselves before asking for help.) But dang! I've sent three emails in the last week and, until I raised a whimper of heck today, they were all ignored! It's really sad when I manage to pay more attention to my unpaid work as webmin for my websites than these people apparently do to their jobs.
      • It's really sad when I manage to pay more attention to my unpaid work as webmin for my websites than these people apparently do to their jobs.

        Actually you were making me feel guilty that I had been bad over the past month at attending to emails and deadlines for things that I take on voluntarily (late with Earwen for example!). I have actually always tried to treat a deal as a deal, whether one volunteers to do it for free or gets paid for it.

        • Please don't feel guilty! For one thing, I have a list of things to do for SWG that have needed doing for almost a year, in some cases. (Just look at how long it took me to help us reach a resolution on the slash/het label thing!) At the end of the day, none of us get paid and do this for love alone. One thing you will never hear me do is become angry because a volunteer is late with or can't finish a project. I am so grateful for every bit of help that I get. And if I miss a References deadline or we don't have a character bio one month, the world keeps on spinning. That's an entirely different matter from derailing someone's chosen career for a year because you can't answer the emails you're paid to answer!
  • Oh, geez. I'm sorry you're having to jump through hoops to get needed questions answered. People should do their jobs.

    (And, um, I'm feeling really guilty right now for not responding to that email you sent me last week.)
    • Please don't feel bad! I know you have your own RL headaches at the moment. :) As I told Oshun, social or fannish emails aren't things we're paid to answer, and failing to answer them right away doesn't result in consequences like my not being able to do my student-teaching in the spring! :) I'm way behind on social/fannish emails too.
  • Maybe I'm misunderstanding your problem with Praxis, GRE, SAT and other acronyms: you're supposed to sit for an exam to test basic skills *after* you've earned a degree? What's the point of that?
    • Why, padding the pockets of the testing corporations of course!

      You're right that it's idiotic. These tests prove very little, to start. Of my university friends, the one with the highest SAT score failed out of university in his first year. The one with the lowest is now an MD and working to become a pediatrician. As to why they still play such a central role in higher education here, I can only conclude is because they're cheap and easy for schools to use, and someone is making big bucks on charging $50+ to take an exam administered and graded by a computer.

      This is just one of the many educational hoops to jump through in the U.S. system. I graduated from university (and most universities require the SAT) with a near-4.0, I have over a 99% average as a grad student, and they're wondering if I can cobble together a sentence or count to five on my fingers? It's jaw-droppingly stupid but, fortunately, one of the hoops I've already jumped through will serve me. This time.

      Because, come spring, I'll have to take the Praxis II ... >.
      • I can't help feeling astonished that the tests on which - supposedly, I agree - people's future careers depend are administrated by a private company. What if you can't afford them? I just imagine the opinion of the teachers' unions here!
        • Welcome to the good ol' US of A! One nation under capitalism!

          They're not cheap, either. Mine will be paid out of my financial aid money, but that has to be paid back eventually. (In theory. I'm hoping that much of it will be forgiven, since I'm going into teaching.) When I was in high school, for example, AP tests cost $75 each. I took three. That was a lot of money for someone then living on just above minimum wage and about 15 hours per week! Yes, they cost much less than the university credits they got me out of taking, but they also weren't paid by scholarship, where my university tuition was.

          Education, like most everything else here, is really just a big for-profit scheme.
  • Does your email client/software have a receipt function? I have now trained myself to use this function every time I send an email out so that when the recipient opens the email, I get a return receipt. So at least I a) know they saw it and b) can use it as later evidence. >:^)
    • Ha! I'm not sure. The school's email kinda (really) sucks. But if it does, I'll be using it from here on out! >:^)
  • I was always told people weren't getting my emails, so I started to-ing and cc'ing my name to everything. Problem (mostly) solved.
    • Heh. I'll have to try that. Isn't it sad, though, when you have to resort to weird psychological tactics to get people to do their bloody jobs??

      Btw, my life sank into chaos before I could reply to your comment last week, but your story about the migrating exotic chickens had both me and my husband in stitches! :D
  • Oh wow, how helpful of this Mrs S. Geez.

    One claims not to have received my message--perhaps my address is blocked in their system? Considering that I sent it from my student email account (which, incidentally, I do because I'm always worried my Gmail account will be blocked, ironically), I highly doubt that.

    Errr no. Clearly the other received your e-mail and since both work for the same organisation, a spam filter cannot say like, oh this Dawn Felagund e-mail, I spam it for Miss C, but Mrs S can receive it. Both should not have gotten it if Miss C never received it, I mean it is just IT logic....
    • The emails were also sent from my university email address, and I find it very hard to believe that the university blocks emails sent from their own system. Unless there's something seriously wrong with the system, then I think some people just got caught slacking and had to make up any ol' excuse.

      In any case, I got all the information I needed and am now good to go! :)

      You and yours are in my thoughts too, Rhapsy. *hugs*
  • A meandering thought or two

    I've read through some of this thread and I suspect I may have a few more years under my belt than the majority of the folks here. The Big C's - Courtesy, Care, Concern and Common sense - are an endangered species and may die out very soon. Prior to the advent of technology of a level the Internet and cell phones, etc. sit at we had a slower paced communication system and we relied heavily on the written and spoken word. Much was done face to face. Thus we had to practice some of the Big C's on a regular basis. With the advent of answering machines society began the process of distancing us from our fellow human beings. You didn't have to confront someone - you left a message. They, in turn , could then respond almost anonymously by replying with a message left on your answering machine. From there we moved on to cell phones which all include voice mail and then came E-mail. By Jove! I can hide from my friends, neighbors and some poor soul 1500 miles away because I can communicate but never be seen or heard or recognized. I send a message to X. X deletes it - by plan or by mistake. I send X another e-mail and X replies he/she never received said e-mail. And it spirals down from there. It's bad enough now that when I called the Social Security Administration office to ask some questions I was told I could apply on-line. "I don't want to apply yet - I only have some questions." "Well, you can find answers to your questions on-line." "No, I tried and the system assumes I only want to apply - I want to TALK to someone." "OH...well, you'll have to make an appointment." "That's why I'm calling you - to make an appointment...." "Oh...well, okay. But you can go on line and get answers" So I made the appointment, they called to cancel it but I could schedule a phone call. I did so and the caller was late and really didn't answer much because she was late for a meeting and I was only allowed 15 minutes which her previous call had run over into so she couldn't give me the full 15 minutes as she'd miss the meeting. Hunh? But I could go on-line and get more answers.....(Insert expletive deleted) Are they aware of how many people there are out there who are of an age to apply for Social Security that are NOT computer literate? It will be a nightmare as these folks begin to have to deal with this wonderful(?) automated system. Yay team - my tax dollars at work????? This technology is a wondrous thing but it has allowed people to stop dealing face to face and thus to lose the ability to deal with others in a courteous and polite manner. Thus your aggravation with the school. I hope things improve and you have no more issues with communication. Otherwise, I can only offer my sympathies. Sometimes we're our own worst enemies.

    P.S. Happy Anniversary.
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