Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Students-- Can't Live With Them ...

Teaching is a lot of fun but it might be more enjoyable if you did not have to deal with students!

In one of my classes which meets weekly, I have a student who has missed five of the eight sessions and a sixth session, she came about thirty minutes late for a three hour class. It so happens after my last class session, the student (who has not been there in weekly) came to see me after class to discuss something with me about a friend of hers.

I told this student I was made at her and she asked me why. “You seemed to like the discussion we got into when class started,” I said. “You seemed to have a lot to contribute and yet you have just stopped showing up and you have yet to complete any of the graded assignments”.

The student told me that she had lost her focus and interest in classes and that it was not me or my teaching style. Still she was not coming to class. “Can I still pass the class if I start showing up,” she asked.

I paused for a moment and did some calculations. “Yes,” I said. “If you show up to all the rest of the classes, put in the effort and give it your best shot, you can pass”. I figured that if she made it to all the rest of the classes, that means she will miss five out of 15 sessions, which is still a lot, but I will pass her. “Well,” I asked, “What do you think?”

“I’m not sure,” came the reply. “And, how many teachers would really give you a second chance,” she asked, praising me for giving her the opportunity.

I think the student may start showing up to classes, but I am not sure. I did thank her for her honesty that she was not sure if she would show up, and I asked that if she did not, she let me know, so at least I would know enough not to set aside time for her oral presentations.

Honestly, I am confused. Why spend money on a class and not drop it or withdraw from it? Why spend money on a class and even consider turning a teacher down when s/he offers you a second chance? Why stop showing up to a class you enjoy in the first place?

Students can be quite perplexing and my job would be a lot easier if I did not have to deal with them.