Really. I have no concept of what my students’ lives are like, and this is something I have to constantly remind myself. I cannot make assumptions about their situations based on my own experience.
I heard from a student today who missed a couple classes and an assignment. The details don’t matter – colossal amount of bad luck. But one thing struck me. The student moved to a town three hours drive away. I was dumbstruck. What kind of situation makes a 3 hour commute to classes seem like a good idea?!!
Terry McGlynn writes alot about the experiences of undergraduates at his institution over at smallpondscience.com. His observations and insights are eye-opening for me. Basically, I’m weird. My experience of life is completely irrelevant to understanding my students. And yet, I’m supposed to mentor them to successful careers? I’m whoppingly unqualified.