A master teacher is a scholar, a gifted explainer, a continuous learner and enthusiast for her subject, a visionary, a pedagogical adventurer, a respected mentor. However, without effectiveness, it’s all for nothing. We must move our students to a new level of skill or understanding—and that kind of success takes focused effort. The senior consultants with Ellucian say that “we bear responsibility for providing students with the support they need to achieve their goals.” For that reason, I take the following steps to assist students who have been identified as having difficulty with my courses:
- I (partially) flip the class. Students who struggle with concepts (like research, documentation, outlining, drafting, paraphrasing, etc.) need time to practice under guidance. I have built writing workshops into my course schedule so we’ll be sure to have time to practice what they have been learning.
- I offer bonus class time. Students are offered extensions on particularly difficult projects if they attend a bonus class time for further assistance.
- I have an open-door policy during my office hours. Students are welcome to drop by for assistance or to make an appointment for times I’m not scheduled to be in the office.
- I check in with students who are absent. Usually, an email or text message is enough to get them back in the classroom. However, if they are gone for more than one class period, or have other issues, I write a note on Ivy Advising so their advisors can also follow up.
- I check in with students who are not meeting deadlines. When students have fallen behind it is often because they do not feel competent to do the work. A conversation after class or an email message, to both challenge and encourage, often gets them motivated to get back on track.