“I hope you can think of something to write about,” my husband said as he left this morning.
“Are you kidding?” I asked. “My mind is a jumble of things I want to write about. The problem is getting it sorted out.”
“Well, before you do anything, just make sure you call the bank and get that problem with your debit card straightened out.”
“Yes Daddy. I mean, Yes Dear,” I replied as I shut the door behind him. Amused at his reminder, I thought Some day I’m going to write about the miracle of how I’ve managed to survive all these years without daily guidance and instruction. But that’s a story for another day.
Here’s this morning’s story. A couple of years ago I wrote a book on student success in two-year colleges, and as I thought about making it free on Kindle at the beginning of the semester, I wondered whether it needed updating. After checking the major topics, I decided that the suggestions and recommendations were still valid.
But….If I had the energy and inclination to revise and reupload the eBook, I’d include more information on staying in touch with teachers/instructors/professors during office hours. In a two-year college, students usually visit only for help with advisement on schedules, but stopping by for other reasons can be of benefit.
I recently heard a podcast that addressed the importance of office visits. The speaker, an author and a professor in a four-year university, was lamenting the fact that students rarely come by during office hours these days, and she was speculating on the reasons. The one that was an “aha moment” for me had to do with our day of electronic efficiency. Students, she said, had rather respond via text or email than actually sit down and talk with a teacher/professor.
Why is this? One reason is the busy, busy, busy nature of life. Another is that with the consistently growing dependence on texts and emails, she suspects that students have forgotten how to respond face-to-face. They’re accustomed to reading something and pondering over it before responding. Engaging in conversation that takes place in the moment is challenging for them, especially if they are trying to make an impression.
That’s too bad, I thought as I listened to the podcast. Students just don’t realize how helpful it could be for them to actually stop by the professor’s office during office hours. Teachers like to know what’s going on in their students’ lives, especially as it pertains to their course work. Teachers can be mentors, and at the very least, they can write letters of recommendation, something unlikely to happen if the they can’t even recall the student’s face or have never spoken to them.
Regrettably, when I checked my eBook, I discovered that I had written only one measly little paragraph about the importance of staying in touch with teachers.
Stay in touch with your teachers and ask questions about your progress. Without hounding them to death or saying things like, “I have to get an A in this class to get in the nursing program,” students need to communicate with their teachers. This is especially important for those who are teeter tottering between grades or who are considering throwing in the towel when there’s still hope of completing a course successfully. Crossing the Bridge: Succeeding in a Community College & Beyond (pp. 73-74). Jayne P. Bowers. Kindle Edition.
After I bring some closure to some other projects, maybe I’ll consider updating the book. For now, I’m going to remind my students about the importance of staying in touch with their teachers. And then I’m going to make the eBook available free for three days on Amazon.