College faculty members must be prepared to teach, and they must also be prepared to deal with difficulty situations. Students may challenge the instructor’s authority. Students may display disruptive behaviors. They may use inappropriate, even threatening language. The college instructor must be prepared to deal with these situations. In the same way that stand-up comedians prepare to deal with hecklers, so should college instructors prepare to deal with unacceptable student behaviors. If instructors fail to deal quickly and decisively with inappropriate behaviors, through that inaction, situations can escalate. An argumentative student may later yell and, with time, begin using profanity and even voice threats. These situations seldom occur. But when they do, it is often because the instructor was not prepared to deal with such a student at the first sign of a problem. New instructors can get valuable advice from experienced faculty. Teaching is a profession one learns on the job. Learning how to prepare to teach a college course is a challenge, but it is one all college faculty must take on. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.
© 2010 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D (a.k.a. The Teaching Doc)
January 18, 2011