As a student, adjusting back to life in class has been challenging. I got used to, as I am sure you did, being in my own surroundings and comfort.
I missed my friends! Being back face-to-face with them on a daily basis, I can’t help but cut up a little more than usual, talk out of turn, and wish we had more time just to have fun. I may be less motivated to go to class, especially if I found how to complete assignments on my own with little instruction.
Here are a few things I want you to know about what I need to succeed at this point in the pandemic.
I am not lazy. Ok, maybe I am a little unmotivated. I am not sure what my future holds, and I have trouble envisioning things long term. But I do want to learn things and do well. Routine feels good but can also seem a little stifling right now. After having some luxuries with time, it is a bit of a struggle to force myself to pay attention to the task at hand when I am thinking I can do it later. Remind me that if I get things done now, I will be less likely to procrastinate or fail to complete things later.
The way you run class and your tone matters. I want it to be fun. I want you to like me. Even if I act like I don’t care. To me, it just means you show an interest in me. Make positive comments and suggestions to me individually. Give me feedback that I can use and help me to interpret it. Speak in a way that lets me know you care about us. I want to be comfortable in your presence. I want to want to be in your class.
I do not like being called out, or put on the spot- especially when you know I do not know the answer. That does not motivate me, it embarrasses me and makes me not want to even go to class. Instead, I need to know you care. This needs to be demonstrated, not just lip service. Please don’t just say things like, “My door is always open”, or “Reach out to me anytime” if you don’t really mean it. Things seem easier and even the stuff I don’t want to do seems “doable” when I feel like I am cared for and heard. My motivation needs to be both internal and external right now.
Completing assignments by a deadline now seems much less of a necessity. When learning remotely, deadlines became more of suggestions and I learned that giving excuses and asking for extensions worked with little to no effort. Now that I need to complete assignments by a certain time, it feels almost unfair. Setting clear expectations of when and how work is to be turned in, and when exceptions are made, if at all, is necessary. Accountability is needed- even though I say I don’t want it. Not having immediate and fair consequences just reinforces that I can get away with not doing work. Naturally then, I want to see where my boundary is and will push until I find it. By that time, I may be too far down a hole for recovery. Please catch me early on before I fall.
Some days I am treading water. I need you to inspire and encourage me when I am feeling down. I am moody. I am at the end of my rope and the smallest things can send me over the edge. Be a constant for me when everything around me feels like it is changing.
Most of all, be nice! That doesn’t always mean letting us go early or not giving a lot of work (though those things help!). Give me a break once in a while. I need it more than you can imagine. It also means just being nice! No one wants to be around mean people. It sounds so simple, but maybe it is. Being nice is also contagious.
Thanks for listening!