How much help is too much? Student edition
March 10, 2014 4:13 PM Subscribe
At what point do I tell a student to stop asking questions?
posted by mrfuga0 to Education (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I teach basic composition. I assigned a textual analysis, knowing that students would struggle a bit with it, but also knowing it's a valuable skill we will build on throughout the class. All of my students have met with me one-on-one and most of them seem to be trucking along towards a rough draft.
One student, however, met with me and had no prep, no idea of what was happening and apparently did not pay attention to any part of our discussion, as he has sent me five emails since Friday, each one asking me to explain the assignment and/or tell him the next step in his draft. For example: "Hi! I'm confused about the assignment. Whatever you can tell me would be helpful!" -- after we spent two weeks on the assignment in class and met individually. When I replied that he needed to be specific about his questions, he then emailed me a long list of potential articles he could read and asked me which ones he should pick and how to create a thesis from them.
Complications: I'm now on maternity leave (though no baby yet) and I've given them leeway to email me as they work on drafts. About a third of students have sent one email with specific questions and have been satisfied. This student doesn't seem to be able to move forward without me holding his hand. He has repeatedly asked me to meet with him this week, even though my due date was last week and they all knew I'd be gone from this week until April. At what point do I tell him I can't answer his questions all day long?
He also did very poorly on his first essay, has missed two weeks of class already and has not turned in a homework assignment yet. I know his concern is passing, but this seems ridiculous. My guilt at being gone during the drafting phase is making me feel like I should offer him as much help as possible, though.