Despair and Flexibility

This is turning out to be a great quarter.

I can honestly say that the worst thing that is happening in class is having a few confused and frustrated students.  And this is an easy fix.    One of the things that I make sure that I build into my class are some “flex days”.     Unofficially, I have set aside 3 or 4 extra days for difficult lessons several times during the quarter, as well as having review days scheduled before every exam.     If you can tell your class is getting frustrated, I have found that announcing “okay, we’ll take it a little slower,” and handing out a revised class calendar lets students feel a lot better.

It makes them feel empowered.   Oddly it also gives the class a better sense of shared identity.

It gives them permission to revisit topics that they feel they “should already have gotten.”   It’s sad when students ‘should’ on themselves.

It relaxes the overall atmosphere of the class.   And it gives you a day you don’t have to grade things.

So with a little planning ahead, you can make the class a much friendlier place to learn.  Since every class is a little different, you won’t be able to predict when they’ll start to feel overwhelmed…

Random tip:   when praising students, praise them for working hard, not for being smart (from The Trouble with Bright Kids).

… and now back to a a three day weekend.


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