Simply put, this is not an easy difficulty to address, or even discuss.
However, I feel it is an important one because everyone has troubles and challenges in their life at some time.
Unlike university-level courses, college prep courses
have assignments and tests worth far fewer marks per evaluation tool, and it is important for
students to know that it is still possible to get back on track after a
I want all my students to know that I do not judge them for missing classes and will work with them to find ways to get them back on track. While I do not have time to re-teach missed classes, in my experience I have found that those students who work hard to pick-up from where they left off can often still pass the semester with an adequate final grade.
I feel that working towards addressing this need for a few students will ultimately pay off for all students because it pushes me to think about how I can communicate my teaching practice to colleagues in all support roles.
However, aiming for such transparency and effective communication also places an enormous burden on me to plan and prepare far in advance and clearly communicate every element of my class to a very high level. This is challenging, to say the least, but that is part of why I established a website to house and communicate all of my curriculum.
My highest priority is to develop and share a detailed Schedule for Counsellors, Learning Assistance Instructors, and other similar support personnel to use when we work together to develop a Work Plan to get a student back on track
when he or she is ready to return to class.
Since it was noticeable that students suffering
from personal problems or addictions were most likely to struggle over long weekends and
Reading Week, I no longer schedule assignments or major tests immediately after
these days to reduce the impact of these holidays on students’ marks.
One unplanned benefit to having the Counsellors and Learning Assistance Instructors in class for extended presentations (as opposed to two minute introductions) was that students reported feeling more comfortable accessing the
Counselling and other support services when a crisis arose later in the semester. So, I plan to continue this hour-long presentation in all my classes.