Handling Problem Students
with Problem Students
When you encounter students with personal or academic problems, remember you are a teacher, not a psychiatrist. Be friendly and flexible but do not allow yourself to be drawn in as a counselor.
Behaviors in the Classroom
Responses for the various behaviors found in the classroom
Occasionally, special problems enter the teaching arena. Among these are teacher-student conflict, sexual harassment, and academic misconduct. Preventing problems from occurring, being aware of university and department polices, behaving in accordance with them, and knowing how to find support services to assist are the keys to action under problem circumstances.
As teaching assistants and faculty members, we have all experienced the frustration of having students come to class unprepared. In desperation, I was considering remedying the situation by administrating pop-quizzes. But I was advised to try something else first: short conferences with unprepared students.
In my experience, negative judgment is one of the strongest "away-from" motivators for humans, and the more skilled that students are at handling negative judgment, their own and others, the more likely they will persevere in college even in the face of discouraging outcomes.
After researching the issue, Faculty Senate learned that increasingly immature, and even violent, behavior is a problem nationwide at both two-year and four-year colleges.
Ideas on Handling
Do you know how to prevent disruptive behavior in class, and have different strategies for dealing with it when it occurs?
In addition to the students who express their concerns directly to you, there may be others whom you notice in distress or difficulty. In some cases you may be the first or only University employee to do so. For example, the student may look depressed, or become overly emotional about some minor event, or act very differently than is characteristic for her or him.
They expect teachers to explain everything to them very fully, particularly the details of what they are expected to do in the course and how grades are assigned...
with Grade Disputes
For students, grades are equivalent to pay checks. They have a right, not only to be graded fairly, but also to know why they have been given a certain grade.
In A Day's Work
It's a typical day in your class. As you lecture, several students stroll in during the first 10 minutes of the class and one arrives after 20 minutes. It is the earliest she has arrived all semester. A number of students are absorbed in the campus newspaper. Two students are having an animated conversation, punctuated by laughter. All heads around them are turning to see what's going on. One student has his head back, eyes closed, and mouth open.