Dealing with difficult situations during teaching

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    Hello! I just interviewed for a job teaching nursing assistants. In order to qualify to teach additional classes, I was given an application which the state requires to fill out, which includes these questions about difficult situations that may be encountered while teaching. Having very little teaching experience so far, I am not sure if the answers I'm thinking of are the best way to handle these situations. Anyone willing to comment on these scenarios?
    Scenario 1: You have divided students into 4 groups to practice hands-on skills. Two of the groups are spending more time talking than practicing. Asking them to get to work hasn't worked. What would you do?
    My answer: I would ask those groups to show me the skills they were supposed to be practicing, and tell them the deficiencies. I would then ask them to practice it better so they'll be able to pass the next exam. I would comment that too much talking may be keeping their whole group from learning the skills they need in this class, which is not fair to all the participants.

    Scenario 2: One student is not paying attention and is being disruptive in class. You ask them to participate in an exercise. The student reacts, "I'm only here because I was told I have to be here. All I want from this class is a certificate. Leave me alone." What would you do?
    My answer: I would have a break for the class and ask the student to meet with me privately. I would tell them that I am concerned they will not be able to learn all the content required to gain the certificate if they continue not participating in class. I would ask them also to please not disrupt the learning that is needed by the other students, or I may need to say something in front of the class. I do not want to have to embarrass them this way, and hope to gain more cooperation in the future.

    Scenario 3: Five students in the class have English as their second language, and all sit at one table. One of the students appears to be quietly translating for the others during the class. Another student complains about being distracted by the "talking."

    My answer: I would say that I think that they may be translating, and would gladly let this student be seated in front, away from that group, if it would help. But that I would talk to that student and find out the real situation. I would find out if it is really a matter of translation. If so, I would make sure they sat in the back and talked quietly so as to disturb fewer students.

    In this job, which is a private CNA school, the course lasts 3 weeks, with the last week being reserved for clinicals. I also found out that there are no office hours, but teachers can be given an email address through which students can contact us. Does anyone else have experience with this type of CNA teacher position, and any advice to give? Thank you in advance for any and all posts!
  2. 3 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    scenario 1: you have divided students into 4 groups to practice hands-on skills. two of the groups are spending more time talking than practicing. asking them to get to work hasn't worked. what would you do?
    my answer: i would ask those groups to show me the skills they were supposed to be practicing, and tell them the deficiencies. i would then ask them to practice it better so they'll be able to pass the next exam. i would comment that too much talking may be keeping their whole group from learning the skills they need in this class, which is not fair to all the participants. it's up to them to practice or not practice, and accept their own consequences from whatever they do or don't do, as long as they aren't disturbing others. i think what you wrote is super, and also think you could invite them to leave when they're finished and if they're being disruptive.

    scenario 2: one student is not paying attention and is being disruptive in class. you ask them to participate in an exercise. the student reacts, "i'm only here because i was told i have to be here. all i want from this class is a certificate. leave me alone." what would you do?
    my answer: i would have a break for the class and ask the student to meet with me privately. i would tell them that i am concerned they will not be able to learn all the content required to gain the certificate if they continue not participating in class. i would ask them also to please not disrupt the learning that is needed by the other students, or i may need to say something in front of the class. i do not want to have to embarrass them this way, and hope to gain more cooperation in the future. your maintaining of the privacy of the student is admirable. what you say you'd say to her is good too, and very caring. it's appropriate. if the misbehavior continues, my advice from #1 holds here. a question for you...can students fail this course? if not, you're not going to have any impact on students who aren't motivated to succeed. will your administration back you if you need to fail someone? if not, it's not an instructor-valuing environment for you, and might be just a money-mill for the owners. consider that in deciding if you want to work or continue to work there. a disruptive student is seeking attention. i would try sticking close when possible and standing nearby when she is sitting and standing between her and the students she's interacting with. get in her space and block interactions, either by just being there or saying something while there. talk to her often about what you see going on (in private). don't dance around it. confront it. you might also assign seats and put the disruptive student at the back so others don't have to see her being disruptive.

    scenario 3: five students in the class have english as their second language, and all sit at one table. one of the students appears to be quietly translating for the others during the class. another student complains about being distracted by the "talking."

    my answer: i would say that i think that they may be translating, and would gladly let this student be seated in front, away from that group, if it would help. but that i would talk to that student and find out the real situation. i would find out if it is really a matter of translation. if so, i would make sure they sat in the back and talked quietly so as to disturb fewer students. also ask the students who are part of the translation about it, since you're not sure they're translating. tell them the concerns. maybe they're disruptive like the scenario 2 student, but you just don't know it since you don't know their language. if they're not intending to be disruptive, i'm sure they'll try to avoid seeming disruptive. putting them in the back would help, since others wouldn't see them as they look toward the front. however, don't just do it without explaining it to them, since it could seem as it you're not culturally caring otherwise.

    in this job, which is a private cna school, the course lasts 3 weeks, with the last week being reserved for clinicals. i also found out that there are no office hours, but teachers can be given an email address through which students can contact us. does anyone else have experience with this type of cna teacher position, and any advice to give? thank you in advance for any and all posts![/quote]

    do you have time before and after class when you could make your own "office hours". i've found schools don't assign them, but instructors decide the hours themselves. do you have an office or a spot you could just be in, in case the students want to talk to you personally, outside of class? how about that email address? how about phone contact (not with your home phone)?
    conscientiousnurse likes this.
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    Thanks so much for the helpful comments, Whispera! I'll try to find out more about the job. I will consider what you said. However, since I don't have any solid teaching experience so far and don't have a Master's, I am not sure it would be easy to find such a position, so perhaps I need to take what I can get.
  5. 0
    to every scenario I would reply "follow school policy" plus (possibly)

    #1 could be broken into smaller groups. Let the compliant ones leave.
    #2 may not get certificate if there is no class participation DOCUMENTED
    #3 find out why the translating is going on and have the stakeholders come up with a solution. I know it is nice to have someone helping you undestand, but does it have to be in class? Will they be able to take instruction on the job?


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