Am I doing this right?

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Hello everybody here. I lurk a lot in this forum and always try to learn things from you guys quietly. But today something happened in my class and I feel I need suggestions from all of you.

Background: 1. Me: a second year assistant professor; teach a senior science class this morning.
                   2. Student A: graduating in May; top student in department; multiple offers recipient from graduate
                       school from top universities very recently; was one of my students before in another class.
                   3. Class: 10 students; I know each one of them and the atmosphere in class is very informal. 

Today's topic is hard for students and I can tell this from them. So I decided to spend more time on practice problems. During practice, I went around to checked students' answers and discuss with them. When I checked student A's answer, half of them were wrong. So I suggested student A try them again. But student A suddenly got upset and said "I don't like it, and I'm going to just sit here", which was loud enough for other students to hear. I honestly don't know what I should say at that moment so I walked away. Later on, when I tried to solve practice problems on board, I had to admit that I didn't explain one of them very well, so student A got more frustrating and started talking to neighboring students "I don't like this". At this moment, I got upset too because I could feel the atmosphere in class is getting more negative. So I stopped and said something like this:" I know you guys are upset about this topic, and I know I didn't explain this thing very well. We can always check book or literature to get better answer. But let's not bring negative attitudes to this class, or to other students. If the topic is hard to you, that's ok, I understand. So let's spend more time to practice. I hope you can have the right attitude in this class.". At that moment, I was emotional but I quickly controlled it. Most students seemed to agree so we continue our discussion.

This whole thing might be small, but it is my first time to have this situation. So I want to know whether I did it right or not. Are there any better ways to deal with? Shall I say something in next class? Maybe apologize for my emotional comments in today's class? Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated.     

I think you handled the situation superbly. My take is that student A was letting other stressors get the better of him/her.

You did fine. Do not apologize. You do not want to make a mountain out of a molehill.

You did a great job handling that.  Your student is probably frustrated with all sorts of other things in Student A's life that s/he's letting spill over into your class.  Hopefully this is just a one time occurrence for an otherwise good student.

Calixarene, something similar happened to me, when I was new to to teaching.  I got through an entire lecture teaching the class how to do something confusing, only to discover when I got home that I'd become confused in class myself and had taught the process incorrectly.  Now I understood why some of my better students looked so confused and unhappy in class that day!

So, in the next meeting of that class, I told them what happened, apologized, then told them to throw away their notes from the prior meeting and we'd start over, from square one.  The students looked very relieved.  There was some eye rolling at my announcement--but by the end of that session, everyone was back on track, and there were no consequences, not even on my evaluations at the end of the semester.


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