Tuesday, June 26, 2007

taking the good with the bad...

the bad --
There is one student who is making me a bit nuts this semester.... The thing is that I feel guilty that this person is making me crazy -- because it is clear to me that this person's native language isn't English and that they probably have some developmental challenges I don't understand.

On the other hand, the students with disabilities office doesn't seem invovled with this person, so perhaps the challenges are physical and not intellectual.

One way or the other, this person just seems to be oblivious to what is going on in class -- and makes no obvious (to me) effort to correct the situation. This makes me irritated because it is like they aren't trying. I can understand someone failing this class, it is hard, but not trying isn't acceptable.

I suppose it really makes me angry /frustrated because I tried really hard to teach this person and my suggestions were either ignored or otherwise dismissed. I suppose it is possible that the person didn't understand my directions, but then they need to ask questions to get at what I mean. Don't just nodd your head and then not do it!

the good --
A short conversation with a decent student today who earned her A in the class. She didn't get it at first, she struggled, asked questions and worked hard -- and performed. I suggested she take some honors classes and she said she didn't think she was honors material... well, honestly, if she isn't then I don't know who is honors material.

She's smart, she works hard and she gets into abstract material. Her flaw is that she underestimates her own abilities... Who wouldn't want that kind of student??

After a bit we started talking about the nature of college, how it is about getting yourself into intellectual hot water by finding ideas and areas of study that are challenging. We discussed why a college education is valued by employers and decided that the exposure to situations and new ideas that comes with a college education is the most important thing you can have as an employee, because it gives you a set of resources to use in problem solving...

Finally we discussed her plans for a major (finance) and her love (chemistry). I told her that she should get out and get a good job in finance so she can save her money to do what she wants to do, like go to grad school. I really hope she does save some money and that she goes to grad school in the hard sciences. She's smart, funny, ambitious and becoming more and more fearless... what more could you ask in a scientist?

I feel good today because I did a small bit to increase the cognitive diversity in science...

1 comment:

Miss Kitty said...

I live for conversations like the one you had with the finance/chem student. Maybe what we do is worthwhile after all... :-)

And I never know what to do in a case like the student who's failing your class. I've had a few of them, and the roots of the situation spread far and deep.