Here are the methods I am focusing on this week:
- Passing instructions: I started my mission to save my failing students with an email that listed all the assignments they could choose from and how many they need to do in order to pass my class. Sometimes it is a little disappointing to know students want to do the bare minimum to earn their credit, but as teachers we all know this is true sometimes and it is easier to motivate a student when they feel the goal is within their reach.
- Phone calls: Reaching out to students over the phone is sometimes the make it or break it in their motivation. It's easy to forget they are more than just a overlooked name in my classroom if I do not reach out to them. As I have spoken with my students who are failing this week, many of them have been thankful for my call and already working on the assignments they need to submit.
- Personal emails: Not all of my students answer me when I call, and sometimes their numbers do not work. At this point I turn to emails, but they still need to be personal. Now, instead of many options for passing I have moved to specific assignments for each student to complete that will push them to a passing grade. I look at the number of assignments they need, pick the ones I want them to do, and send out the message with a read receipt. I have found that for some students, a specific list is more motivational than many options. To remind students that these emails are personal I put in the subject line "Passing instructions for (student name)" or if they are only one assignment away from passing it will say "(student name) you are ONE assignment from passing".
- Offering extensions when possible: Deadlines are important as they give procrastinating students a reminder that they really need to get it done. However, when possible, offering extra time gives students the extra push they need to know that you care about their success enough to grant extra time. I never offer this extra time until the very end so as to not promote more procrastination.