I love my students, but gosh. I am so frustrated right now.
Are your students prepared for class? What does “prepared for class” mean when you
say it? Does that mean the instructor
has prepared everything for the students for class or the students have come
prepared to participate in class? Whose job is it, this students being prepared
to participate in class business? I
thought it was a combined effort – I do my part and they do their part. I am starting to figure out that I am just
plain stupid wrong. I’m expected to do
all the work here.
Over the past few years I have grown increasingly frustrated
with student participation in class. I’ve
never had trouble with good class discussion.
So, I have been thinking they are just unwilling. Unwilling to do the work. Unwilling to put themselves out there.
Unwilling to care. You get the idea. Unwilling.
This semester has been the worst. Why? I
really want to know. I have been thinking
about this quite a bit. This can’t be a simple case of millennial narcissism. Why do they not take notes? Why do they not read or watch videos before
class? Why do they not feel any obligation to participate in their success?
I ask a question and they stare at me. They don’t even bother to look down at their
notebooks to avoid eye contact. Guess
why? They don’t have any! What is this note taking you speak of? -- I
can see them thinking it.
At one point
it had become so ridiculous I just gave up.
After a series of questions about a video we had JUST watched (because they did not watch it on their own
as was assigned) and nothing but blinking eyes looking back, I asked how
many in the room were breathing. Blink.
Blink. I then asked how many were no
longer breathing. On that one I got
three blinks. I think I confused them
with math or philosophy or whatever.
So, I have been trying to do some reading, been trying to
figure this out. I know that I am going
to have to change my approach, as I doubt they will change theirs. Honestly, I have tried a variety of approaches. Nada. I
am wondering if this isn’t the end of class discussion as we know it. This is a blended class. We have tried online and F2F discussion. They are mildly better at the online
approach, for obvious reasons.
Here’s the deal. I am
starting to think they are just not ABLE to participate. If they can’t memorize it, then they don’t
understand what learning is. If I haven’t
provided a work sheet or study sheet, they don’t know what notes are. But by golly, they BELIEVE they will be
I don’t want to sound like I am beating these hopeful people
up. I love my students. I really do. I think they are wonderful
people, and I want nothing more than to be a guide to their success. No sarcasm intended. I just feel like I am not getting them
there. I also feel like every few years
I have to lower my expectations one more notch.