only thing that interferes with my learning is my education".
is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
Imagine: You have designed brilliant lectures and learning experiences. Your syllabus is so exciting students actually read it. And, you are dabbling with anticipation into new avenues for promotion of student learning afforded by technology. Your classroom teaching is everything you hoped it would be.... Then an otherwise capable student misses the test. They tell you their car broke down. They are near tears or angry, convinced in their own mind that they will fail the course and college. They are already convinced that they will spend their life in the streets. They are either devastated by their imaginary future or blame you for their plight.
What is going on here? You've been a wonderful teacher, but your students aren't in the same success mode. They are not optimistic, they are terrified. They approach life from scarcity, convinced the academic economy is a pie and they might not get their slice. They are typical community college students.
How can you help? Clearly, you won't be able to solve all their problems, nor should you try (See Module 17 for support services for your students). Student Services exist to fill many of the gaps you can't fill. Often, however, a few well chosen words, a recognition of need, an understanding that a student needs just a bit of extra help from you moves a student toward success in your course. Often simply doing what comes naturally to academics will alleviate the situation. Break the problem into smaller pieces for them. Help them understand each piece and see that many alternative futures are possible. And, if their car really did break down, consider a make up test or dropping that quiz from your final grade tabluations (note: it is wise to think out your policy and its implications in advance and publish it in your syllabus).
- by Kristina Kauffman