Summer 2021: June 1 to August 31 Sports psychology Recommended by a member of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology History of psychology Written by a person with a disability Recommended by a colleague at your institution Written by a BIPOC psychologist Neuroscience On your shelf Cognition Written by a person diagnosed with a psychological disorder Written by a person who identifies as transgendered Stress & coping FREE Fiction Prejudice & discrimination Emotion Written by an APA 2021 keynote speaker I/O psychology Written by a psychologist who works outside the U.S. Social justice/activism Comparative psychology Cultural psychology Science that is not psychology Written by a psychologist under the age of 40 Sensation & perception Created by Sue Frantz Read books that match the categories. Only one book per category. Write in the author’s name and title of the book in the box. A bingo is 5 across, 5 down, or 5 diagonally. How many bingos can you get? If you read 24 books—one that matches each category--that’s a blackout. Congratulations! Between August 31 and September 6, share your completed bingo cards to the Society for the Teaching of Psychology Facebook group or Twitter using hashtag #psychbookbingo. Happy reading! [Download as a Word file] [Download as a PDF]
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The planning fallacy tells us that everything will take longer than we think it will (Kahneman & Tversky, 1982). In a fun—and unpublished—study, MIT graduate student Kaley Brauer, tells us about what they learned about the planning fallacy—albeit never named as such—when a “small group of postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates inadvertently formed a longitudinal study contrasting expected productivity levels with actual productivity levels.” It all started in an effort to be more productive by holding each other accountable. Once a week this group would get together to declare what tasks they wanted to accomplish for the following week and report on what they had accomplished the previous week. As part of this accountability, each person was asked to predict how long each task would take and then report on how long each task actually took. Nine months and “559 self-reported tasks” later, the data are interesting if not surprising. “The actual number of hours required to complete a task is, on average, 1.7x as many hours as expected (with a median multiplier of 1.4x).” The worst estimates were for tasks related to writing and coding. The best estimates were for tasks that had a set deadline. To help ourselves overcome the planning fallacy, there are three things we can do. First, break the task down into its component parts and estimate how long each component will take. When we do this, our predicted times to completion are more accurate (Forsyth & Burt, 2008; Kruger & Evans, 2004). Second, make a plan. When we decide when and where we are going to do these subtasks, we are more likely to complete them in the time predicted (Koole & van’t Spijker, 2000). Lastly, when we are working on the task, getting rid of distractions and interruptions—phones set to silent!—will help us finish the darn thing in the time we predicted (Koole & van’t Spijker, 2000). After sharing information with your students about the planning fallacy and how to mitigate it, ask your students to take a look at the assignments remaining in your course. Send students into small groups to break down each assignment into smaller, component parts, and provide a time estimate on how long they think each part would take to complete. As a “deliverable,” ask each student to submit a work plan for each component. For each remaining assignment (or, perhaps, just one large assignment), for each subcomponent, note how long they think it will take to complete and identify where and when they will do this subcomponent task. If you’d like to do a follow-up, ask students to keep track of how long it actually takes them to complete each subcomponent task, and submit this information when they submit their assignment(s). Giving students some practice with this skill now may benefit them enormously in the long run. References Forsyth, D. K., & Burt, C. D. B. (2008). Allocating time to future tasks: The effect of task segmentation on planning fallacy bias. Memory and Cognition, 36(4), 791–798. https://doi.org/10.3758/MC.36.4.791 Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1982). Intuitive prediction: Biases and corrective procedures. In D. Kahneman & A. Tversky (Eds.), Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases (pp. 414–421). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511809477.031 Koole, S., & van’t Spijker, M. (2000). Overcoming the planning fallacy through willpower: Effects of implementation intentions on actual and predicted task-completion times. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30(6), 873–888. https://doi.org/10.1002/1099-0992(200011/12)30:6<873::AID-EJSP22>3.0.CO;2-U Kruger, J., & Evans, M. (2004). If you don’t want to be late, enumerate: Unpacking reduces the planning fallacy. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40(5), 586–598. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2003.11.001
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FEBRUARY 25th | 3:00 PM ET
Longtime (and recently retired) New Yorker cartoon editor—and former psychology major—Bob Mankoff will join David Myers for a cartoon-illustrated 25-minute presentation (followed by Q&A) on "Taking Humor Seriously." Mankoff will explain the importance of humor and how it relates to every area of psychology: cognition, emotion, personality, mental health, development, relationships, etc.
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I just finished reading Evan Nesterak’s Behavioral Scientist interview with Wharton organizational psychologist Adam Grant about his new book, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know. Grant discussed an interaction he had with Danny Kahneman that has given me much to think about. After a talk Grant gave, Kahneman, who was in the audience, came up to him afterward and said, “That was wonderful. I was wrong.” Grant found the reaction unexpected. Upon later inquiring what Kahneman meant by that, Kahneman replied (Grant’s paraphrase), “No one enjoys being wrong, but I do enjoy having been wrong, because it means I am now less wrong than I was before.” I was immediately reminded of an email I received from a student from a recent course. After receiving a lower-than-typical score on an assignment, she emailed me to thank me for the explanation of a particular concept in the rubric. She was glad she got that concept wrong because now she understands the concept much better than she did before. Like Kahneman, she “enjoy[ed] having been wrong, because it means [she is] now less wrong than [she] was before.” Since this is not the kind of email I usually receive from students, I wrote her back, and asked how she came to take that view. She said when she first went to college years ago, that was most certainly not her attitude. Instead, her primary reaction to being wrong was to be defensive. It was after she dropped out of school she realized how much her defensiveness kept her from learning. In her job, she started seeing that every time she was wrong, she learned something new, so she started seeing being wrong as a good thing. Being wrong is evidence of learning. And it was with that attitude that she came back to college. You may not be surprised to learn that she earned an A in the course. Again, Adam Grant paraphrasing Danny Kahneman, “Finding out that I was wrong is the only way I’m sure that I’ve learned anything. Otherwise, I’m just going around and living in a world that’s dominated by confirmation bias, or desirability bias. And I’m just affirming the things I already think I know.” What helps is that, as Grant reports, Kahneman separates himself from his ideas. Ideas are just ideas, not who he is. Ideas are easy to ditch; our identity is not. Early in my career, I learned that it was freeing to say, “I don’t know.” I teach a lot of Intro Psych. Students can come up with a lot of questions about people and why we do what we do. While I know more now about psychology than I did then, I still don’t know everything. Heck, our science of psychology does not know everything. My identity as a psychology instructor was not wrapped up in knowing absolutely everything about psychology. As a bonus, saying “I don’t know” made it easier for students to trust me when I did respond to a question with something that I knew. Or was pretty sure I knew. Next, I learned that it was freeing to say, “I don’t know, but I would guess…” and then provide my guess, while also sharing my thinking about why I was guessing that. I love this kind of thinking on my feet. And, by pulling in content previously covered in the course, previewing content coming up, and content not covered in the course, students get to see how different areas of psychology are connected – or, rather, could be connected if my guess is correct. If a particularly motivated student did some research into the question, and reported back a different answer, I got practice is saying, “Thanks! I was wrong.” In recent years, I’ve gotten more comfortable saying that. I can’t say that I’m to the point of embracing “wrong” like my student and Danny Kahneman are, but I’m closer than I used to be. Psychologist Paul Meehl was renowned for telling his students near the beginning of a course that half of what he was going to tell them was wrong; he just didn’t know which half. That’s science. With every study, we learn where our ideas are wrong, which ideas need to change. For Danny Kahneman, learning where he is wrong is just another data point. Talk about the scientific attitude! Now the million dollar question. While I can work on reframing my own thoughts around being wrong and what it means to be wrong, how can I help my students do that same important reframing? While it’s important for learning, it’s much bigger than that. Kahneman has it exactly right—when we can admit we are wrong, confirmation bias, belief perseverance, <insert just about any bias>, cognitive dissonance all disappear. If those who believed the rhetoric of QAnon could say, “I was wrong,” like Lekka Perron has done, imagine how freeing it would be for them. Perhaps the best way to help our students see being wrong as learning something new is to model it ourselves. “I believed X, but the preponderance of the evidence points to Y. I was wrong, and now I’m less wrong than I was before.”
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JANUARY 26th | 2:00 PM ET
Do your students know what makes them happy? They probably think they do, and much what they think is probably wrong. Professor Gilbert will discuss the science of happiness, and tell you about some findings that will surprise your students – and maybe you as well!
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FEBRUARY 10th | 2:00 PM ET
Dr. Kelly Goedert and Dr. Susan Nolan will describe how the use of statistics in psychological science is changing as the field undergoes an open-science revolution. They will highlight ways to update your undergraduate statistics course that center on an ethical approach to analyzing, interpreting, and reporting data, and will offer engaging examples and activities you can use in your classroom.
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I hadn’t been teaching very long when I had decided that I didn’t want to be in the business of identifying good student excuses from poor student excuses for the purpose of determining who should—and who should not—get a deadline extension. I wasn’t comfortable passing judgment on what was a significant level of stress for a student. Was this student close enough to their aunt to warrant a deadline extension upon reporting her death? Can I believe that their aunt actually died? I know other faculty ask for some kind of proof. Am I comfortable asking for some kind of proof? Or that car crash that my student was in. How bad was it? And does it even matter how objectively bad the crash was given what we know about how differently people respond to various stressors? A fender bender that is no big deal to one student may send another student into stress overload. Rather than evaluate individual excuses, I decided to structure my course for flexibility. (For those of you familiar with the “4 Connections for Faculty-Student Engagement,” you’ll recognize this as part of “practice paradox.”) At that early point in my career, students had four 50-question unit exams and a 100-question comprehensive final. The first 25 questions on the final corresponded to the first unit exam (different questions, same content), the second 25 questions on the final corresponded to the second unit exam, and so on. If a student missed the first exam—for whatever reason—I would double the points earned on those first 25 questions, and those points would be entered as their exam one score. A student could miss all four unit exams and just take the final. No one ever did, but they could. Additionally, I would compare the total score for the four unit exams (200 points) to the final exam (100 points x 2 for a total of 200 points). I excluded the lower score and used the higher score to calculate final grades. If a student, for example, decided to try to power through and take a unit exam even if they weren’t in the right space to take it, and they ended up doing poorly on it. No worries. The final exam, if higher, would replace all four unit exams. I would say, “It doesn’t matter to me if you show me that you know the course material as we go through the course or at the end of the course. Just show me that you know it.” Later in my career, I did away with in-class exams in favor of what amounts to weekly take-home exams (I call them write-to-learn assignments; read more here). In my online courses, there are weekly discussions. With multiple assignments in each of these categories that are worth the same number of points, doing poorly on one, two, or three will not greatly harm a student’s course grade. Additionally, I drop the lowest take-home exam score and the lowest discussion score. Stuff happens in students’ lives. I don’t need to know what that stuff is. We’ll just drop the lowest scores. In my courses, all assignments are available from the beginning of the course. Students can choose to work ahead if they’d like, and several of my students do. The only place where that doesn’t work is in writing responses to other students’ discussion posts. In comparison to other work in the course, writing responses is not generally a labor-intensive activity. I know many faculty who are philosophically opposed to extra credit. For myself, I’m fine offering extra credit. While I’m comfortable with my assignments and scoring rubrics, they are not perfect. They can’t be. In a nod to this inherent measurement error, offering students some extra credit feels fair. I offer extra credit under two conditions. First, the extra credit has to be available to everyone. All of the extra credit in my courses is published as part of the course at the beginning of the term, so everyone knows what the extra credit is and when it’s due. Second, the extra credit has to advance my agenda. In my online discussion boards, I ask students to share their good news for the week. (Read more about this.) In their replies, I ask students to respond to the initial post’s good news with a reaction and a question. For one point extra credit, students can answer the question asked in the reply (maximum two points, one each if the student answers two replies). In an online course, students miss the opportunities to build community by chatting with each other before class starts or during breaks. Structured discussions can push the sense of community a bit, and a little extra credit for advancing the discussion can push it even further. The other place I offer extra credit is within the take-home exams. In some of these assignments, I will include extra credit questions that ask students to reflect back on earlier material in the course, particularly correlations and experimental design. We know that spaced practice and retrieval practice help students remember course content, so I encourage students to revisit these concepts throughout the course. The best thing I’ve done in the last year to build flexibility into my course is to include an automatic 24-hour grace period. Historically, I’ve had the take-home exams and initial discussion posts due on Monday and discussion responses due on Wednesday. If I move the due date back 24 hours—take-home exams and initial discussion posts due on Sunday and responses due on Tuesday—I could then add an automatic 24-hour grace period. Effectively, assignments are really still due on Mondays and Wednesdays, but for students, their target deadline is 24 hours earlier. If they need the extra time—for whatever reason—they have it. Frankly, it’s the easiest way for the most rigid of faculty to add flexibility to their course. Set your deadline, then subtract 24 hours. How does the 24-hour grace period work in practice? Early in the course, about two-thirds of my students make the initial deadline. As the term progresses, that slips to about half. Recently, a student ran into a technical problem with his computer’s Internet connection. Unfortunately, he discovered the problem 23 hours and 45 minutes into the grace period—and he missed the drop-dead deadline. He emailed me to explain what happened. He wasn’t asking for extension. He just wanted to let me know what happened and acknowledge his mistake. He understood that the grace period was for exactly those issues, and that he would return to aiming for the initial deadline. Finally, whatever your policy, stick with it. Do not make exceptions—unless your policy says that you will make exceptions. Otherwise, you reward the students who ask, and the students who follow your rules and who never ask, do not have the benefit of your generosity. There’s nothing fair about that. If all of those structural elements are not enough to help a student who is having a tough term pass the course, they have one more option: students can retake the course.
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What better tour guide through My Psychology than the author himself, Andy Pomerantz. In each of these brief videos Andy introduces a specific chapter, highlighting important topics to come while addressing student preconceptions. Using these is a terrific way to set the stage for your lectures and your students' encounters with the course material.
Preview the Lecture Launchers by Chapter:
Chapter 1: The Science of Psychology
Chapter 2: Brain and Behavior
Chapter 3: Sensation and Perception
Chapter 4: Consciousness
Chapter 5: Memory
Chapter 6: Learning
Chapter 7: Cognition: Thinking, Language and Intelligence
Chapter 8: Motivation and Emotion
Chapter 9: Development Across the Lifespan
Chapter 10: Diversity in Psychology: Multiculturalism, Gender, and Sexuality
Chapter 11: Stress and Health
Chapter 12: Personality
Chapter 13: Social Psychology
Chapter 14: Psychological Disorders
Chapter 15: Therapy
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NOVEMBER 19th | 2:00 PM ET
Debra Roberts (Howard University), lead supplements author of My Psychology, draws on her years of teaching and research to share strategies for talking about diversity in psychology classes.
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NOVEMBER 12th | 1:00 PM ET
Looking for simple solutions? Professor Scott Cohn (Western Colorado University) will demonstrate tips and techniques for creating a positive online assessment experience for students. Resource options will be compared with specific examples from his Introductory Psychology course.
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NOVEMBER 5th | 1:00 PM ET
Join Ronald J. Comer (Princeton University) and Jonathan S. Comer (Florida International University), the renowned best-selling authors of Abnormal Psychology and Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology, as they review the rapidly growing body of research on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the state of mental health and its treatment.
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The perennial question for any introductory course is about what to cover. Is it better to teach more stuff superficially? Or is it better teach less stuff deeply? This is the classic breadth vs. depth dilemma. I don’t think anyone goes all-in on breadth, teaching Intro Psych by covering one isolated concept after another, jamming in every known psychological concept. If that’s you, may I suggest using the APA Dictionary of Psychology as your open source textbook? Nor do I think that anyone goes all-in on depth, teaching Intro Psych by covering one concept in great detail. That’s what a graduate school dissertation is for. Instead, we’re all somewhere in between these two extremes. How far left from center and how far right from center is the question. This question would be easier to answer if we knew where the center was. When I teach Intro Psych, what I choose to cover and choose not to cover are driven by two primary factors. The first is the textbook I’m using. The authors—with much input from reviewers and editor(s)—have curated the psychological knowledge that they think is important for an educated citizenry to know. That one’s easy. I have a book that tells me what they thought was important. The second factor is my own opinion of what an educated citizenry needs to know. This one is a little harder, but not much. If knowing a piece of psychological knowledge will increase the chances of saving someone’s life, it’s more likely to make my cut. I spend more time and effort covering sleep and attention than I used to. My coverage of psychological disorders focuses much more on stigma these days than it does on, say, symptoms. (Shout out to Susan Nolan for helping me think about this.) I’ve changed my approach to psychotherapy so that students can explore how to find a psychotherapist and the questions to ask a potential psychotherapist. When Intro Psych instructors get together, these are the kinds of issues we talk about. How much of your coverage of the personality chapter is historical? Or, more to the point, do you cover Freud? Do you lecture on the sodium-potassium pump? Do you ask students to know what each neurotransmitter does? How much I/O content do you cover? Do you cover motivation and emotion? But here’s what we don’t talk about. At the Intro course level—and this is true for any discipline—we deliver the simplified version. We zoom out to the 30,000-foot view where we can’t see the nuance. In Intro to History (of some appropriate time period) we learn that the cause of WWI was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. We learn in Intro to Anatomy that there are two arteries in the human arm, the radial and the ulnar. We learn in Intro to Art that Picasso was a cubist. All of that is true. Sort of. Much had to come before in order for Ferdinand’s assassination to trigger a world war. Some people have three arteries in their arms. And Picasso, in his early years, was not a cubist; that came later. In Intro Psych we have our own typically-covered content that is true in a sort of kind of way. The brain, for example, is much more complex than could ever be presented in Intro Psych. Yes, the temporal lobes play an important role in hearing—but the temporal lobes do so much more beyond that. Yes, the occipital lobes play an important role in vision—but lots of other places in the brain are important for vision, too. But we keep it simple. Temporal=hearing; occipital=vision. Yes, perceptions of three dimensions comes from binocular vision, but not everyone with two good eyes perceives the world in three dimensions. Decision-making and memory involve much more than what we present in the Intro course. Psychological disorders are much more complex than could be covered in Intro. If students are lucky enough to take another psychology course (keeping in mind that the vast majority of students in Intro Psych are not psychology majors), the instructor of that next course will say something like, “In Intro Psych, you may have learned X. In this course, you’ll learn that that’s not the whole story. Let me tell you about Y.” And then for the few students who go on to graduate school in psychology, they’ll hear, “As an undergraduate you were probably told X and Y. In graduate school, you’ll learn that’s not the whole story. Let me tell you about Z.” And then when that even smaller number of students goes on to spend decades researching that one area, they’ll begin to fill in the other letters of the alphabet. And therein lies the challenge in teaching Intro Psych. None of us who teaches the course knows the whole alphabet—or even the portion of the alphabet known to date—for every concept we cover. In fact, we know X for most of what is in our Intro Psych textbooks. We may know Y for some concepts—probably as a result of an upper division course we took and perhaps now teach. And for even fewer concepts—the concepts we researched ourselves in graduate school—we also know Z. And if you have an area you are researching now, I bet you also know A, B, and, depending on whether your current studies are going to yield the data you expect, C. Intro Psych is the most difficult course in our curriculum to teach. It’s the course that will make you painfully aware of how much you don’t know about psychology, because you know the simplified version of most of the course content. You know X. The longer you teach it, however, the more you learn. In some areas, you start to pick up Y. You get better at answering student questions. When you first start teaching Intro, your modal answer to student questions is most likely “I don’t know.” After a few years, as you learn more, you start to answer more frequently with “it depends,” and you’ll have one or two things in your back pocket that “it” depends on. But whatever your answer, it will still be the simplified version. Because you’re teaching Intro Psych.
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OCTOBER 8th | 1:00 PM ET
David Myers (Hope College), longtime author of our bestselling introductory psychology resources, offers his insights on the human element of this crisis—our need to belong, why we may be too much, or too little, afraid, and how shared threats affect social behavior.
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Join us for the Macmillan's Psychology Speaker Series!
At Macmillan Learning, our psychology community includes committed teachers, researchers, and authors. Among them are some exceptionally compelling advocates for how psychological science can help us understand our contemporary lives. Join us for this timely, idea-rich series of talks from some of the most effective voices in psychology education today, as they share their thoughts on teaching, learning, and living in these unsettling times.
You can register for one or all of the following webinars:
October 8 - Human Behavior Amidst the COVID Crisis: Helping and Hurting? with David Myers - 1:00 PM EST: VIEW THE RECORDING David Myers (Hope College), longtime author of our bestselling intro psych resources, offers his insights on the human element of this crisis--our need to belong, why we may be too much, or too little, afraid, and how shared threats affect social behavior.
October 21 - The APA Introductory Psychology Initiative Outcomes: What You Need to Know with Jane Halonen- 1:00 PM EST : VIEW THE RECORDING APA has a new Introductory Psychology Initiative that provides recommendations for teaching the intro psych course, training teachers, and assessing student learning. In this webinar, Jane Halonen (University of West Florida) will discuss the Initiative's recommendations regarding student learning outcomes and assessment strategies to improve the quality of the introductory psychology experience.
November 5 - Abnormal Psychology in the Era of COVID-19 with Ron & Jon Comer- 1:00 PM EST Join Ronald J. Comer (Princeton University) and Jonathan S. Comer (Florida International University), the renowned best-selling authors of Abnormal Psychology and Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology, as they review the rapidly growing body of research on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the state of mental health and its treatment.
November 12 - Making a Smooth Transition to Online Assessment with Scott Cohn- 1:00 PM EST Looking for simple solutions? Professor Scott Cohn (Western Colorado University) will demonstrate tips and techniques for creating a positive online assessment experience for students. Resource options will be compared with specific examples from his Introductory Psychology course.
November 19 - A Hidden Strength in the Psychology Classroom with Debra Roberts - 2:00 PM EST Debra Roberts (Howard University), lead supplements author of My Psychology, draws on her years of teaching and research to share strategies for talking about diversity in psychology classes.
Register today to save your seat!
*NOTE: You must follow this link to register.
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I recently read Michele Harper’s memoir, The Beauty in Breaking, about her experience as an emergency room physician. In one chapter, she writes about people coming to the ER who have so much more broken in their lives than, say, their arm. With some gentle probing, Harper may learn that the cause of the broken arm is the boyfriend sitting in the waiting area. She writes: [W]hat's even worse is when I ask the question, and the patient declines assistance. Their doing so shouldn't feel like a personal affront, but for an instant, it can. Of course, if a patient declines help, that has nothing to do with me personally. Clearly, I'll go home to my life and not be beaten just the same. Perhaps what bothers me most is the raw realization that I care more deeply for the welfare of another human being than he cares for himself, and that that human being will leave my care to suffer more needless violence. While Harper is speaking of physical danger, this section resonated with me as an educator. A student may come to me because of a poor grade on an assignment. With some gentle probing, I may learn that the student has an abusive boyfriend, has three part-time jobs, is a single parent to an infant and a toddler, is battling addiction/anxiety/depression—or some combination of all of these. When these are the cause, and my offers of help—such as a referral to our college counseling center—are declined, I feel sadness, certainly, but it doesn’t affect me as deeply as it seems to affect Harper, most likely because our roles are different. These are students who I believe value their education—they care about their education—but there are significant barriers in them achieving their educational goals. And my ability to help them navigate life’s choppy waters is limited. Major life circumstance barriers aside, there are times that I do find myself with a similar raw realization—that I care more deeply for a student’s education than they care for it themselves. I feel this most acutely with students who seem to have none of those life circumstance barriers, but who see education as something to be slogged through with minimal effort, not as something worthwhile in its own right—they seem to want the degree without the learning that it represents. In some cases, they don’t even seem to particular want the degree; they’re in college because of someone else’s expectations. It’s difficult to write supportive and constructive comments on the assignments of such students when I know that the comments will likely go unread—or if read, unheeded. I was probably in the first year of my first full-time teaching job in the mid-1990s when one of our counselors spoke at a faculty meeting. She said, to paraphrase, “I know all of you mean well when you give students 3rd, 4th, and 5th chances, but you are not doing your students any favors. Students need to at least meet you halfway.” And then she said, “Students have a right to fail.” As a young faculty member, that was mind-blowing. I could deliver material that was important and relevant. I could present it in the most compelling way. I could construct meaningful assessments of their learning. I could not, however, do the learning. My students were the only ones who could do that. Twenty-five years later, that is still true. I’ve been teaching at the same college long enough to have students come back for a round two. They’ll say, “I took your class 7 years ago, and I didn’t do very well.” They mean that they failed. “I wasn’t ready to go to college then, but I am now.” And they are. Invariably, they do much better than they did the first time. I see students with those significant life barriers again—they got away from the abusive boyfriend, they have a better-paying job, their children are older and more independent, their mental health is better. When a student doesn’t do as well in my course as I believe they can, I cannot let myself think that I care more deeply about their education than they do. Instead, I have to think, “I look forward to seeing you again.”
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