Class Managment II

Once the ground rules have been laid out in the syllabus, it is up to the instructor to enforce them. Being “the enforcer” is often a struggle for me. I have had enough experience in class management to know that running a “tight ship” pays off well for almost everybody (students and faculty) in the long run. However, the initial effort required to maintain a strict enforcement is strenuous for me. Maybe it is because faculty expectations vary so much in colleges. Students do not really have any norms to adhere to: every course and instructor is different so it’s hard to keep them all straight. My approach recently has been to communicate fairly high expectations in the syllabus. In practice, I may be less ambitious in enforcing each and every rule as written in the syllabus. My experience is that most students mean well: and a late assignment, a tardy, or a missed lab is really a one-time very human mistake that can be dealt with in a reasonable manner among adults. On the other hand, a small minority of students will systematically abuse any laxity in strict rule enforcement. It doesn’t seem fair to me to let the worst student behavior/intentions force me to be harsh with every student who breaks a rule. How to strike a balance? In truth, I never feel very comfortable with class management as I look back on the semester. Some students I should have been more vigilant about what they were trying to get away with. Other students I should have given the benefit of the doubt instead of making their lives more difficult.

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