Assignment:

Post your own teaching scenario involving a difficult classroom situation. Then, write 2-3 paragraphs discussing how you might plan for setting expectations in the classroom to prevent such a situation arising, as well as how you would respond to a situation should it arise anyway.

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Uncommented Assignments (Please respond to these assignments first when commenting)


Rebecca Osakwe

Difficult classroom situation



Susan Perez




Maria Gonzalez





Summer Session 2 Assignments

Heather Clifton



Bronwyn Harrod (Commenter) - Hello Heather. So, your assignment is aptly named, this is a VERY tricky situation! I think you were correct in not turning into a big deal at the time. In the future, you are wise in planning to make the boundaries clear. In addition, for similar situations, I let the students know that such policies are as much for my protection as a TA (what with legal issues, sexual harassment accusations, etc.) as it is for theirs. By placing some of the emphasis on my needs as a person, they seem to be less inclined to have a "well, it doesn't bother ME" attitude. Also, I tend to keep extra clothes (such as long sleeved sweatshirts, cuffed socks, spare tank top, etc.) in my TA drawer in case of "wardrobe malfunctions". Something like a lab coat may have been helpful in the lingerie situation? I'm not sure, as I am not familiar with EKG and the corresponding requirements..... At any rate, well done handling a strange curveball!


Erin Easlon


Dianne Thompson - Erin...It is insightful of you to notice students strengths and weaknesses. I thought that your idea of mixing groups was helpful but was wondering how you might intervene (if at all) when the shy student is placed in a dominating group. For example, if a shy student was mixed in with a group of strong-willed, high achievers would the shy student be heard? Or would the shy student have greater stress for being in such a group of students? I'm wondering if you would still have specific roles for each group member to present a part of group work. It sounds like there might be required classroom presentations. The mental preparation strategy that you offered seems like a good way to provide support for socially awkward students. In the situation as you described, keeping students accountable for explaining their work can still be important. Besides extreme circumstances, opportunities to practice can help individuals (or groups) overcome possible barriers to achieving their goals. This difficult situation may be just a "work in progress" for both students and teachers alike.

Sang Phadungchob
Situation 1: many students turned in bigger assignment than they were asked to
Situation 2: a 'demanding' student

Hi Sang,
This is a difficult situation. I think all of your suggestions are good. Despite being very well prepared there might still be a student who will behave in such a manner. The most problematic aspect of this is how to approach that student and what exactly you should tell them in that situation. I would begin by asking the student how well prepared they are coming to each class. Then I would further ask what parts of the material are giving them the most trouble. I would explain very carefully that it’s not fair to other students that that student monopolize your time. I would further encourage the student to come better prepared for class and be an independent thinker. Perhaps showing them resources where they can help themselves find the answers they need. Another proactive response could also be having short pop quizzes at the beginning of the lab section. This would encourage students to be prepared and know the material well before each lab. It could be simple True/False questions. I like your idea of working in groups, and to take that further, create a system where the group members as individuals are still being held accountable by having peer-to-peer evaluations. Otherwise, what caused you to be distracted could also cause other students to be distracted if a group has a group member who requires too much extra help. Good luck with your future students.
Regards,
Sonya Collier

Megan Saucke
Students asking teachers out


Hello Megan,

I believe during the quarter, when you and your student are still in teacher-student relationship, it is inappropriate to date as it can easily become a conflict of interest. However, after the quarter is over, I think it depends on individuals.

As to try to 'intimidate' students by announcing that you already have a boyfriend since the first day of class, I wonder how much students want to learn about you on the first day though. On several occasions, I myself don't remember where my TA went for his/her M.S. or undergrad, simply because I didn't care enough to learn about the person on the first day and it's just not memorable. However, if the student is persistent and it is not appropriate and you are not interested, it may be best to turn the student down like you would turn down a guy.

It almost seems that this issue will have to be solved on a case to case basis. Some people can flirt and still keep it appropriate. Some people are just friendly and not even flirting, but can come across as being inappropriate. It may also depend on cultural background of TA or students. On a bright side, a student's interest in an instructor can sometimes turn into an inspiration for the student to do well in class.

By the way, what happens when it's actually a TA who starts flirting with (or being too friendly to) a student?

Best,
Sang Phadungchob


Shaina Western
Student is always showing up really late

Shaina, I had a student a couple quarters ago that started showing up later and later as the quarter went on. This was to a lab section where the students worked at several stations, so he did not have time to complete all the stations. I did not feel the need to confront him about being late because his lateness was not affecting me or the other students in the class, it was just his loss of time with the lab materials. I do believe, as has been discussed in many of these posts, that college students need to take responsibility for their own education. It is another story, however, when they are missing appointments they set up or working in groups that are hurt by their lateness. I try to be flexible and understanding of individual situations, but I do stress on the first day of class that the sooner a student lets me know about outside situations that affect their ability to attend class or do their work the more flexible I can be to help them catch up. But for someone to just not show up, without an email or other apology/excuse, is disrespectful and I am less likely to go out of my way to help them catch up. Good luck with your teaching, Melody Schmid


Eranda Rajapaksha
Difficult student scenario- dealing with a student with disabilities


Hello Eranda,
Have you or the instructor consulted Student Disability Center (SDC)? They may be able to advice on UCD guidelines or requirements on how to facilitate a student with disabilities. From what you explain, it seems like you have provided and facilitated the student with options and helps. This may be for the best to the student, since he/she is still an initiating undergraduate and may try harder in his/her future classes and when he/her retakes this class.
If failure to attend class regularly is the main problem in this case, then having a record of student’s class attendance can be a good record to keep. I believe the student can request for the grade to be reconsidered if she/he believes and has evidence that the grading was unfair.
However, when you talked to the student mid-quarter about his/her performance in this class, did he/she mentioned about what might have prevented him/her from participating and doing betting in this class? There might be something else that disturbed this student’s learning.
Best,
Sang Phadungchob

Response from Bayu Kristianto

Dear Eranda,
Reading your writing on the problem with a student with disability, I was reminded of something that happened to me with regard to one student with disability in my section, and the mistake I made in handling the situation. This mistake made me realize the importance of understanding how to deal with students with disabilities in a proper manner. In a Native American Studies class that I was TA’ing, there was one student who was Native (while I am not), and seemed to be of the same age as mine or probably older (thirty-ish). She did not seem to show any disability from the outside, but she said that she had sent the professor (who was teaching the course) a letter of accommodation, telling her that she needed special accommodation during exams. Prior to the midterm exam, she asked me if she would be provided with an extended time and a place to work on the exam during the extended time. I said yes, she would be given an extra time and a place. My mistake was not to take care of this important accommodation seriously since I did not see that she had any serious disability from the outside. To me, she seemed to function normally like people without disability. So, on the day of the test, she did half of the time in the same classroom as other students (with more or less 150 other students), and she continued the additional extended time in a different place, which was the place where the department is, i.e. Hart Hall. I had to walk with her from the classroom to another room in a different building, and this really upset her. She did not like to be transferred to a different building while working on her exam. She wanted to be in the same place, but given an extended time (or to be in a completely different place for the entire time she needed to do the exam). The thing is we could not use the same classroom more than the time given for the class, because there was another class right after our class. Also, I did not realize that it would be best for her to do the exam in a different place from the very beginning, so that she did not to be moved. She complained to the professor that she did not like to be moved during the exam, adding that she was treated much much (my emphasis) better in a university where she had been previously (UC Santa Barbara). The professor did not like the fact that she compared UC Davis dan UC Santa Barbara all the time in her complaints (she did complain several times). A bit off topic, she even complained to me that the department did not fulfill her expectations. There were materials she wanted to learn which the department did not offer.
I think it is important that we read carefully the letter of accommodation that students with disabilities (or SDC) submit to us in the beginning of each class and really understand each point covered in it. Should there be anything unclear to our understanding, we should contact the SDC immediately. In addition, make sure that the student understands the accommodation we would provide him/her. Make sure that the student reminds us again (the TA or professor) regarding the accommodation she/he deserves, and she/he should give us a reminder ahead of time, such as one or two weeks in advance. As TA or instructor, we need to make sure that we fulfill her/his expectations regarding the accommodation so that she/he would not file a complaint or use something that is not our mistake to her/his own advantage, like what happened in your situation. I agree with the way you and your professor handled situation. Even students with disabilities have responsibilities that they have to fulfill as well.



Sonya Collier
Student and material preparedness


Hi Sonya,
I definitely sympathize with your situation. For me its also really difficult to see students who are not curious about the material to look for the answers, especially when the resources have been provided. I have a couple of suggestions that might strengthen your plan. One thing that you could do is stress the importance of prerequisites. I've been told that students can register for classes without having taken the courses they need to succeed. This might not always be the case, but you could make them sign something with the syllabus stating that they have taken the pre-requisites and that they should refer back to notes from those classes if you are referring to a concept or idea without having explained it in the course. I think that it might give the students more ownership and it stresses that the basic requirements are put on them. The second suggestion that I have is that if students are asking really obvious questions, you might copy and paste their email and give the answer to the whole class or you could refer them to the place where they can find the answer (syllabus, lecture notes, text, etc.) to again reinforce that they have the materials available to succeed. I am not sure that I would limit the questions that you answer, but I would say perhaps that you expect students to prepare to come to office hours and to have gotten as far as they can on their own. In fact, I would tell the class exactly what you said in your write-up, that you expect them to be curious and to seek answers to the questions they have, to go to class-mates next, and if all else fails contact the instructor/TA. I think that it is a good philosophy to instill in students and I am thinking about using it in my class room.
Best,
Shaina

Response form Richard Alan Gamage

I agree completely! College is a very different place than high school when it comes to learning. Many freshman do not understand how different it really is (and some don't ever really get it). In high school students are highly dependent on teachers to teach then everything they need to know and they see their teacher every day which makes this more possible. High school students only do the HW and the readings because it is graded, not because it is a necessary tool for understanding. When they come to college where HW is often not graded and they aren't given reading comprehension quizzes every week then they don't believe it's that important. I would have patience with the students because they are learning how to learn. When they ask an obvious question refer them to the chapter that has the answer in it. Ask them to read it and then come back to you if they still are confused. If they say that they have read it and still don't get it (and some say this but haven't really done it) then take out the book and show them were it is, read it with them and then discuss the concepts with them. That way you give them a real life example of how to look up the information on their own. It is tedious to do this and this is best done in an office hour setting. But it is necessary to teach them how to teach themselves. Thanks for the discussion!

Response from Susan Bush:
Sonya, I was really interested in your strategies to make sure students are prepared and taking responsibility for their own learning. I have been much more accepting of students' lack of prior knowledge/understanding in previous teaching situations, but your more aggressive, more demanding, more respectful-of-their-intelligence approach is one I will try to use! My helpful/passive side assumes, just because the student took a class doesn't mean he/she learned anything (or maybe the class wasn't taught well). I also tend to assume, if one student hasn't learned this material, there are (many) others who need a review, so we should re-cover the material as a group. I agree with Alan (above) that, as we have discussed in class, many students are still learning how they learn best (or perhaps, many students don't care how they learn best). In the future, I'll try to outline in writing before class that material which is clearly review and of which students should make sure they have a firm grasp, and which material is a new concept or new application, and is up for discussion. This should help make sure that students know, and I know, what the expectations are for each topic. This should also help us move more quickly through new material. Thanks!


Melody Schmid
Encouraging PreLab Prep


(Response)
Dear Melody:
I empathize with your dilemma. It is sometimes difficult to get students to do the prep work prior to labs. I teach Drama and often see the students who do not rehearse ahead of time. I have colleagues that use a similar approach to you by making themselves more available not less. I would recommend a different approach. It seems that you have done your prep work in preparing the students for the lab and from what I read you've done your job, now it's time for the students to do theirs.

There is a lesson I was taught as an Actor about when the audience gets restless or stops listening. Most actors respond to this situation by getting louder, faster, and more animated. This isn't the correct response to this situation. The audience is likely to become more restless and continue doing what they are doing. The correct response as an Actor in this situation is counter-intuitive. It's to pull back, become still, and get quieter so that the audience has to work to understand the performance. They have to lean in to listen and figure out what's happening. Their energy becomes re-focused on doing their job, and your energy focuses on what it needs to, teaching the subject matter, and not the external responsibilities of the students. There is a shared responsibility here.

I use this a lot in my classroom teaching and I often differ from my colleagues in this approach. What I do in the beginning of every class is ask the students who is responsible for their learning? And without fail every time they laugh and say you are. I tell them, NO, I'm not. I'm responsible for teaching. I lead the horses to the water. They are responsible for learning which means doing the necessary prep work prior to the CLASS THAT THEY REGISTERED FOR. They are adults and they can decide how good they want to be about learning and mastering the material. They can be the best in their dorm room, the best in the class, or the best in the world. It's up to them. I'm here to help them but they have to do the work.

I also emphasize that working with their lab partners outside of class gives them the opportunity to get to know someone new with a different background and interests and how they want to use that time is up to them. They are also responsible to each other. It's not just about a grade. I also think that sometimes as a teacher you have to define what the responsibilities of students are in your class because they differ greatly from class to class and teacher to teacher and sometimes we miss that.

I want my students to succeed and do great work, but If they don't do the work they get the grade they've earned. I think it's okay for them to fail. Failure is a great teacher especially at this level where talent and hard work meet. It's not always easy to give a failing grade because there are students I like that don't do the work, but I feel that I've been more successful in getting students to prepare and perform by having high expectations, and by asking the students specifically what they expect of themselves. I really think that it's an eye opener for them to know that learning is not about pleasing the teacher to get a grade, that they have to choose to learn, and that those choices have consequences. If they showed up unprepared to a job interview they wouldn't get the job.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to think about this. I think some life and character skills at the beginning really help to structure the class and motivate student performance. Good luck with your teaching.

Best,
Jeremy Oase


Hello Jeremy,
Thank you for an insight. Your suggestion about asking students to think about who is responsible for their learning is a really good suggestion. Many students, and even teachers, are not aware of the answer to this simple question.
Best,
Sang Phadungchob



Carolyn McCormick
Difficult Student situation

Comment (Megan Saucke): Carolyn, I think I would have reacted the same way, but actually I do not think it is unreasonable to hold students who have been given extra feedback to higher standards. I think that your latter solution (not actually reading drafts) is preferable. As TAs or readers, our contract only has a certain number of hours, and accepting a couple drafts could lead to a whole class emailing them in, expecting you to basically spend a ton of time editing their papers for them. Aside from the frustration that comes with them ignoring your feedback, there is also the fact that we need time to work on our own stuff. On the rare occasion that I do read a draft, the student must come to my office hours and read through it with me, with the understanding that this does not guarantee them any grade, especially because I have no other papers to compare them to. What seems like a good paper might seem more like a B than an A once I see how well others have done. Usually, however, I say 'no drafts, but come to my office hours and we can talk about the content and your ideas and see if you're headed in the right direction.' This is in addition to taking questions and going over the prompt in class. I also email out a checklist to my students that reminds them to change their margins/spacing to the correct format, use topic sentences and transitions, proofread, etc., with links to instructions for proper citations, grammar, and how to avoid plagiarism. The last thing I would recommend, whether you take drafts or not, is to set boundaries on when you will accept drafts or questions. I generally say "any questions emailed after 5pm the night before the paper is due will not be answered" so that they have to plan ahead.


Hi Carolyn,
I've been in the same situation before and I definitely feel your sympathy. In my experience, the amount of time that student put into a paper is equal to how much improvement they think it needs and if they think that its worth it. When students are trying really hard and take your comments and suggestions seriously it is as rewarding as them not taking suggestions is frustrating.
As for trying not to grade students harsher for not following through with your suggestions, it always is the best policy. That said, I would not give them the benefit of the doubt when grading if you looked over a draft and they didn't make changes. In that case, there is no doubt and student should be judged accordingly. You might also mention that when you read drafts you are more familiar with the paper and that you are more prone to catching errors. I would also be very specific when telling students what you will be looking for, such as I am looking at ideas/substantive content not spelling mistakes/grammatical errors. Personally, after having this same problem I've stopped allowing students to email in drafts, rather I tell them that if they bring a draft to office hours I will provide them with comments and feedback in order to help strengthen their paper. If you decide to let students email you I would set boundaries so that you make sure that your own work can get done, such as you stop reading drafts three days before the paper is due.
Best,
Shaina

Response from Richard Alan Gamage

I would like to say that as a student I remember when I had so much to do that sometimes I had to make some sacrifices. There are times when you put a lot into a class but then towards the end of the quarter you can't follow through. Its just the way the quarter works out. I would recommend to put a tentative grade on the drafts. Tell them that if they had turned in the draft the way it was then you would give them a certain grade. That way if they do not make very many improvements then they shouldn't expect a higher grade. It might also makes things easier on you as well. Because you have already given them a grade then you don't really need to regrade it if there weren't any corrections made (or minor improvements.)

Response from Bayu Kristianto

Dear Eranda,

Reading your writing on the problem with a student with disability, I was reminded of something that happened to me with regard to one student with disability in my section, and the mistake I made in handling the situation. This mistake made me realize the importance of understanding how to deal with students with disabilities in a proper manner. In a Native American Studies class that I was TA’ing, there was one student who was Native (while I am not), and seemed to be of the same age as mine or probably older (thirty-ish). She did not seem to show any disability from the outside, but she said that she had sent the professor (who was teaching the course) a letter of accommodation, telling her that she needed special accommodation during exams. Prior to the midterm exam, she asked me if she would be provided with an extended time and a place to work on the exam during the extended time. I said yes, she would be given an extra time and a place. My mistake was not to take care of this important accommodation seriously since I did not see that she had any serious disability from the outside. To me, she seemed to function normally like people without disability. So, on the day of the test, she did half of the time in the same classroom as other students (with more or less 150 other students), and she continued the additional extended time in a different place, which was the place where the department is, i.e. Hart Hall. I had to walk with her from the classroom to another room in a different building, and this really upset her. She did not like to be transferred to a different building while working on her exam. She wanted to be in the same place, but given an extended time (or to be in a completely different place for the entire time she needed to do the exam). The thing is we could not use the same classroom more than the time given for the class, because there was another class right after our class. Also, I did not realize that it would be best for her to do the exam in a different place from the very beginning, so that she did not to be moved. She complained to the professor that she did not like to be moved during the exam, adding that she was treated much much (my emphasis) better in a university where she had been previously (UC Santa Barbara). The professor did not like the fact that she compared UC Davis dan UC Santa Barbara all the time in her complaints (she did complain several times). A bit off topic, she even complained to me that the department did not fulfill her expectations. There were materials she wanted to learn which the department did not offer.

I think it is important that we read carefully the letter of accommodation that students with disabilities (or SDC) submit to us in the beginning of each class and really understand each point covered in it. Should there be anything unclear to our understanding, we should contact the SDC immediately. In addition, make sure that the student understands the accommodation we would provide him/her. Make sure that the student reminds us again (the TA or professor) regarding the accommodation she/he deserves, and she/he should give us a reminder ahead of time, such as one or two weeks in advance. As TA or instructor, we need to make sure that we fulfill her/his expectations regarding the accommodation so that she/he would not file a complaint or use something that is not our mistake to her/his own advantage, like what happened in your situation. I agree with the way you and your professor handled situation. Even students with disabilities have responsibilities that they have to fulfill as well. (Bayu Kristianto)

Summer Session 1 Assignments


Gregg LaGambina

"Taming" Students

Comment from Jamiella Brooks: Gregg, I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and thoroughness that you brought to this subject. I also like what you said about "taming" undergrads, so I made sure to include quotation marks in our workshop title so that we can convey more clearly what we mean (which is to say exactly your point--that you cannot "tame" undergrads, but set up reasonable expectations and be consistent in following through with them) I think you make a great point in that a relationship between TA and student is a two-way street. It is up to the TA to make their intentions clear (e.g. I want you to do well in this course) but also convey to the student that they will have to also make the effort to do the work. I think the aspect of this assignment that most jumped out to me was your discussion of the "magical" BCC feature. I am a bit ambivalent on this, since I think it is important to have a certain degree of visibility with students--I don't want them to suspect that I am having conversations about them with another professor. However, I do see your reasoning on why you do this, which is to affirm your approachability. I think you've touched on a key point about teaching, in that everyone has their own style and their own philosophy, and it's a matter of asking yourself--have I thought /through/ my philosophy? Is it working? Is what I do in the classroom consistent with my philosophy? You have certainly thought it through and your students are very lucky to have you!

Eric Brattain-Morrin

Difficult Student Situation

COMMENTS to "Difficult Student Situation." Posted by Gregg LaGambina
First, this line of yours is hilarious: "The presence of such a policy seems to greatly diminish the number of dead grandmothers and burning childhood homes in a given quarter." The temptation for students to fabricate grand scenarios to account for their missing or incomplete work is always astounding, especially considering if they knew how refreshing it would be to just hear the truth (i.e., "I was tired. I was stressed. I got scared and lazy and just didn't do it.") I often find myself stopping students before they launch into something that it's OK and we can figure it out, just so I don't have hear them dismantle their own karma by fantasizing destruction upon their family members for the sake of an extension. That said, students do have problems and it can be easy to forget this if you've been particularly inundated by excuses that you can't see the truth for the fib anymore. I mentioned this a bit in my own assignment, but it seems your solution to email to an outside source is almost always the best decision. It's the aggression in your story that would have alerted me to seek assistance. It's safer, it's more helpful to the student and to you as an instructor, plus it doesn't just "remove" a problem, it might actually serve to begin helping the student become the person they need to be in order to function within whatever life they choose to live outside of the University. I used to feel like I was passing the buck every time I "sent" someone to the writing center or to something more serious, but these resources exist for a reason. Anyway, it was nice to read an account of difficulty I could relate to (along with the humor) and the idea of dropping the lowest grade is one I will think about in the future.

Stephanie Lumsden

Difficult Classroom Situation

Response to Stephanie Lumsden's Difficult Classroom Situation:
I’ve had similar experiences in/outside the classroom [where my experience as a Mexican American (or Latina, or immigrant child, or bilingual, first-generation college student, or ___ background) is spotlighted] with peers and professors, or strangers even. I’ve also been a TA in a classroom where a professor calls on students to give their ethnic/background experience to illustrate a point in lecture or highlight examples (and, I still don’t know how to deal with this one because I’m not the one being ‘personally offended’ and how do you bring it up to the professor “your boss”). Although, I haven’t had something like this happen where a student is prompting such questions to me, and where the discussion is as tense as the one described here. Either way, I’m mostly uncomfortable in such situations, which I think are patronizing.
I find, however, that many people are unaware of such patronizing behavior/don’t know it’s inappropriate to ask such personal questions and the behavior either goes unnoticed or people who are bothered by such behavior later realize what happened and are left with thoughts like, “Did that really just happen?” Personally, I find that sometimes, I make calculated decisions to address this behavior or to ignore it (depends if I personally feel offended, who’s the one asking me the questions, etc). Also, I find that sometimes I voluntarily incorporate my background experiences in class discussions (as I am doing now, for example). So, it’s a complicated set of possible situations and I admire your prompt and appropriate response to the classroom situation you experienced (you’ve taught me a strategy to deal with something like that, thanks). In particular, I think it was effective to re-direct attention to the discussion on intergenerational trauma, based on the class readings. I don’t know, however if it was your friendliness/connection with the students that blurred the line about personal boundaries. People have different expectations about personal boundaries. Adding a line in the respect section of the syllabus (which, by the way, is a great idea I’ll be incorporating) is a great start to delineating expectations in the classroom. Of course, it’s not a fail-proof strategy – I could imagine this situation happening even if it’s on the syllabus in which case, the instructor would still have to address the situation on the spot (like you did). It may be more effective to have a discussion about the syllabus respect section, and why behavior is encouraged/not encouraged.
--- Maciel Hernández

Response to Stephanie Lumsden: At the risk of sounding naive or offensive, I'm not so sure personal experience or background is always "off limits" in a classroom. I think sharing first hand accounts (by teacher or student) can be extremely effective and can create an emotional connection to the course material so long as the person sharing the informaiton is comfortable with that. I guess I'm struggling with your statement that "personal questions based on race/ethnicity/sexuality/gender/age/ability are inappropriate in a classroom environment". I don't see how this natural curiosity is necessarily inappropriate or patronizing. I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here? Please fill me in. I can respect your decision to want separation between teacher and student, but perhaps you might want to leverage this curiosity and instead bring in a guest speaker to share some personal experiences.
--Tamara Dunn Hall

Amanda Schrager

Teaching scenario- a frustrated student

It sounds like that student is very frustrated! I agree with your response Amanda, I also think the best course of action is repeating the question back to the student as you understand it or asking them to rephrase it. Looking to the other students in the room is another good strategy because it helps everyone practice asking effective questions.
I think that I may have a hard time not being a little miffed that a student would approach the front of the class and make a spectacle while I'm trying to answer a question, and this physical move could also be intimidating for some. I would ask first that they return to their seat and then try again to sort their question out. A recommendation for office hours is always good - and taking down in your notes that the student acted out may also be prudent.
Eric Brattain-Morrin

Response from R. Alan Gamage

I have an alternative suggestion. Sometimes when words are too difficult to articulate or too difficult to understand it is convenient to draw pictures or put something up on the board to clarify the situation. Perhaps instead of waiting for the student to get up him/herself out of frustration to present his/her case in a different way, ask the student after the first attempt at understanding if he/she would like to come to the board and explain him/herself. If they decline, then try the methods that you described to get to the bottom of it. Good luck teaching!


Bronwyn Harrod - Too Many Questions, Too Little Time

Response From R. Alan Gamage
I see how difficult it must be to keep track of all those questions. I like your solution of restricting the "Reviews" to just general questions or conceptual questions. Perhaps you can also have a lab workshop as well? Before a really difficult lab for example, set up an office hour and restrict it to only lab questions. That way students will be given the opportunity to get help with that portion of the course as well. From my understanding chemistry classes can sometimes have divergent knowledge requirements in the lecture portion and in the lab portion. Studying for an exam is a different way of thinking than completing a lab report for example. So Perhaps having separate times for each will ameliorate your problem of having to many different types of questions all at once. For more personal type questions office hour and appointments are a good idea. When I TA I think I am also going to have these separate type sessions where I restrict the focus of the session just to see how it goes. Thank you for the ideas Bronwyn!

Maria C. Gonzalez- Bad Class Management