High Hopes for the Semester, Part 4

2 Oct

Now, that was unexpected.

One of my “high maintenance” students – mentioned in the last blog installment – has been continuing to be an issue for me.  Her exam scores have averaged 30%.  She always has an excuse.  “When you gave us some example questions for review at the end of last class, I thought that was all I needed to study.”  “You tested on stuff that was in the textbook but not in your lecture.”  “I missed the exam because I sprained my ankle four days ago and forgot your email address…”  You get the idea.

She didn’t show up for the lab practical on Tuesday morning.  I thought either “she’s given up” or “I’ll find another excuse in my email”.  There was no email.  She stopped by during my 5:00 p.m. office hours and we talked about her chances in the class.  She admitted that she needs to read the textbook (not just her notes from lecture).  She is going to withdraw and try again in the spring.  I gave her some suggestions to prepare in the meantime to be more ready for the spring class.  She actually appeared to take the suggestions to heart and asked questions about finding a tutor in the meantime to help her review the prerequisite material.  She left my office appearing fairly upbeat.

Wow, I did not expect that kind of personal ownership and maturity.  I could be cynical and tell myself that she was bluffing me and won’t change.  But no, I’m going with “I think she’s made an important turning point and wish her the best.”

It’s easy to become jaded and write off some people.  I’m grateful for this student to show me that there’s still a chance for us to make a difference.  I’ve read the enthusiasm of the other HAPS bloggers about flipping and I’m encouraged.

This day is a golden “high hope” day for the semester.  I hope you’re having a “high hope” day, too.

One Response to “High Hopes for the Semester, Part 4”

  1. elainekohrman October 5, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    This post reminds me of one of my advisees. He came to see me to sign up for classes during the summer of 2012. I can only describe him as ‘scruffy’. His grade point average was 0.something. He had taken some classes a few years before and had failed or withdrawn from every class except for one C. He had come to college right out of HS and basically blown it off. Now he was married and had a child and realized he was in a dead end job. I asked him what he wanted to study. He said he wanted to study medicine. You can imagine my reaction. But I pushed aside my doubts and enrolled him in pre-med classes including my A&P class. I even gave him an old edition of the textbook to study during the summer.

    Long story short, he has earned straight As in all his classes after 2 semesters and I think he may actually make it all the way to med school. I’m so glad I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I try to give all my advisees at least a semester to shoot for the moon, before we have to face reality. Sometimes they really can reach the moon.

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