I have noticed a common pattern followed by many students in crisis:
- They experience a crisis or setback (injury, illness, tragedy, etc)
- This causes them to miss a lot of class.
- They may stay away from class longer than they "need to" because of shame: they feel that since they have been absent, coming back to class will cause their teacher to be critical of them.
- Once they do come back, they are overwhelmed. They might need to do twice the amount of work in all of their courses just to catch up. In classes where early material becomes a needed prerequisite for later material, it can become impossible to follow the course content being presented when they do return.
- This experience of failure can create long term patterns of giving up under pressure.
I have known many very capable students who fall into this trap and end up flunking out of University. I could have fallen into this trap myself. As a high school student and college student I got close on several occasions. I have a lot of empathy for this kind of situation.
Question: What kinds of policies and practices can institutions and individual faculty members adopt which help students out of this trap?