Has one of these happened to you in the last 12 months?
- Your daily function was affected because you had an illness or an emergency.
- Your daily function was affected because a loved one had an illness or an emergency.
- Your daily function was affected because someone you rely on had an illness or an emergency.
- You felt so stressed out and took a day off or wish you could have taken a day off.
Most people have had such experiences.
Now, imagine overcoming the situation and trying to catch up with school work (usually in multiple courses) at the same time. That's what your students do when life happens to them.
Cheryl Neudauer led a discussion on effective syllabi at our November SciMath school meeting. (Thank you Cheryl!) We can all use more knowledge about creating syllabi that help students in times of hardship. Of all things, this topic should be regularly discussed amongst us, and should be in the heart of every educator who truly cares about his/her students.
At the end of Cheryl's session, I challenged everyone to find ways to help, not to punish, the students in the following two scenarios:
(1) Student was ill for a week and then in recovery for another week.
(2) Student does not have a textbook for the first two weeks of semester, due to financial hardship.
Yes, life happens. When it happens to your students, how would you help them? Or, would you choose to help them at all?
Dr. Ben Weng