What have I done today to help a student come back tomorrow?

As per our theme for the year of “It Takes All of Us” and the question “What Have I Done Today to Help a Student Come Back Tomorrow,” we are sharing what we are doing today to help students come back tomorrow. Thank you to everyone for taking a moment to reflect on this. 

From a staff member, fall 2015:

I tried to foster a positive relationship with an at risk student.  His comments today made me smile inside.

 

From a faculty member, fall 2015:

I have checked my online classes more frequently than usual to answer questions, give quick feedback on syllabus treasure hunt, and make them feel supported!

 

From a staff member, fall 2015:

I saw many staff walking lost students to their classrooms yesterday and today. Many of the faculty also called students who did not show up yesterday to remind them that classes had started and encourage them to come the second day. Advisors stayed late Friday night to help students get registered – they were here until at least after 6:00 pm Friday.

 

From a student government member, fall 2015:

I introduced myself and just listened. Students who feel stressed sometimes just want someone to listen to them blow off steam and feel that someone hears them and gets them.

 

From an adjunct faculty member, fall 2015:

I think that the news that the MS Suite of programs is now available to students free is going to go a long way toward helping with student success. The software has been an added expense for students.

 

From a staff member/adjunct faculty member, fall 2015:

On both Monday and Tuesday, the Advising Center was very busy with last minute concerns and changes by students. Several students I saw were concerned about their schedule, course load, etc., and with the current advising and registration model, I had a personal rapport with several students that I had met the week prior for registration. Based on this, we were able to speak and select a course of action, sometimes dropping a course, and sometimes just a little encouragement.

Now, on the adjunct teaching side of things, I had one student who had decided that she did not want to complete the EMT program because she felt overwhelmed after the first day of class. She came to my office on Tuesday to speak with me about it. I related a story about a young student who was pretty nervous, and after the first day, he wanted to withdraw from the EMT program. He spoke with me and I convinced him to give it the first week to try to let things settle. Well, after that first week, he came back to class. He was hooked on learning more about emergency services. He struggled and pushed through, he completed the course and obtained his EMT license. This student was awarded the EMT of the Year for 2015 from Great Falls Emergency Services, and I could not be more proud. As I related this story to her, I could tell that she could begin to identify with the student. She was still nervous, but she came to class on day two. Today is day three, I spoke with her after class yesterday and I expect to see her again today during class.

As an advisor and adjunct faculty, I feel I have a wonderful opportunity and a chance to connect with many students to help promote their full potential!

 

From a GFPS ABE faculty member, fall 2015:

I love the theme of "It Takes All of Us" and even though I wasn't teaching at GFC MSU, I was teaching for Adult Education as part of the Great Falls Public School system.  I had a student in my writing class who was very quiet, unsure of herself, and very anxious.  To make a very long story short, she was my best student.  In her words, "I gave her confidence and did not make her feel bad because she was a 'slow' learner."  When this student found out that I would not be teaching writing/English this school year, she became very withdrawn.  On my second-to-last-day, I bought this student Maya Angelou's book on poetry.  I then talked with her in private and confided in her that there will always be people in this world that criticize, hate, or don't want to see other people succeed.  I made her promise me that she would continue her education, keep writing, and if she has a teacher that she doesn't agree with - just take it with a grain of salt and "move on."  I checked yesterday, and she is enrolled for this fall semester and working on her credentials to become a substitute teacher and someday and a fully-certified teacher. As a brand-new teacher hoping to teach "somewhere," looking back, she motivated me perhaps more than I motivated her.  This is why I got in to teaching.

 

From a faculty member, fall 2015:

I helped a student who wanted to drop out of all his/her classes earlier in the semester. I contacted the students adviser immediately and worked with the adviser and the student.  I emailed the student to have a face to face meeting and offered the student extra time outside of class to perfect the skills the student was struggling with.  The student did not drop out and is continuing to do great work.

 

A student email to faculty, fall 2015:

I just wanted to say thank you for everything you have done for me since I started this adventure in college. It is instructors like yourself that make a huge difference in students lives, and for me, you have made a huge impact. If it weren't for you I would not be graduating in December and getting ready to start my new adventure in life. Thank you for taking on this extra work to make this possible. Thank you, again for everything.

 

From a staff member, fall 2015:

I assisted several students with finding their classrooms yesterday, in addition to putting them in contact with Julie Freshly for their insurance. I also worked with Division Directors to get the appropriate paperwork signed and submitted so instructors could begin teaching. It was a great first day and the students were very appreciative of the assistance as for some, it was their first day of college. I enjoyed seeing all the life back on campus!

 

From a staff member, fall 2015:

Yesterday I saw a lost student in the hallway and asked her if I could help her.  She couldn’t find her classroom so I walked her to the room and visited with her all the way down there.  This morning she found me and asked me to help her find her Tuesday classes.  Glad she feels comfortable!  

 

From a staff member, fall 2015:

Yesterday, a new welding student stopped me in the hall to ask where A124 (Sandbox Classroom) was located. I walked him over to eLearning, chatted with him along the way, and thanked him for choosing GFC MSU. Very nice young man on his way to math class. 

 

From a staff member, fall 2015:

Over the past several days I have provided orientation to numerous new students  in the library, bookstore, Academic Success Center, and not only do I try put a friendly, accessible face to their time here, I also make a point to inquire about each student’s program of study and offer encouragement and understanding towards the stress they often feel at the start of a semester.  

 

From a staff member, fall 2015:

Over the past several days I have provided orientation to numerous new students  in the library, bookstore, Academic Success Center, and not only do I try put a friendly, accessible face to their time here, I also make a point to inquire about each student’s program of study and offer encouragement and understanding towards the stress they often feel at the start of a semester.  

 

From a faculty member, fall 2015:

I made an effort to greet all students I passed in the hallway. I also spent several minutes talking to program students outside of class to clarify some assignments and discuss program details and work with registrar to get CRNs for some courses our students needed that were still listed as closed. 

 

From a faculty member, fall 2015:

I believe the first day of class is an opportunity to sow the seeds of a great class atmosphere. Two activities students seem to like (because they tell me so) are what I call the “name game” and an icebreaker that requires them to interact with all the students in the class. I generally do both of these on the first day of class each semester, so we did them yesterday.

The name game is a memorization activity that I also participate in. It requires every student to recall and say the name of all the other students in class. It usually results in butterflies in the stomach and a lot of laughter as everyone goes through the activity. It also helps me learn students’ names more quickly.

The icebreaker involves a sheet of paper with questions on it and students must get out of their seats and move around the class to get names for whom the questions are true. They are only allowed to use a person’s name once, and they are supposed to (but don’t always) ask each person a specific question, and then move on to another person if the question isn’t answered. Twelve of the items on the sheet are true for me, and I tell students they can also ask me questions and use my name, too. I want them to know I’m approachable, and many of the students will come to me during the activity, which usually takes about 15 minutes. It’s fun to watch them laugh and get excited as they interact with each other.

In addition to those activities, I have an overview I do on the first day of class to highlight key information about the course, including my expectations, and I use a few captioned video clips to introduce some humor. I emphasize that I am here to help them succeed and that I am available when they want to meet with me or have problems that I may be able to help them with.

I try to have as much fun as possible, and students generally get comfortable with me and the class before many class days have elapsed. 

 

From a faculty member, fall 2015:

I use Google Voice so that students can text me. I ask each student to take out his or her phone, add me as a contact, and send me a text at the beginning of each of my classes. Later in the afternoon yesterday, I responded to each of those messages welcoming students to class as I added the students to my contacts. If they replied, I asked if they had additional questions. It gave me an opportunity to check in and opened that communication channel. And, that always gives me the opportunity to field questions at the point of need rather than later when the moment has passed or anxiety has mounted. 

 

From a faculty member, fall 2015:

I have created an "Introduction" post for each of my online courses that includes information about where they are from, what they are studying, and some general information about their lives.  I ensure that I reply to each of them with a big "welcome to class" reply - thank them for sharing the information and wish them a great semester.  Many times I relate something of my life that relates to information they share!  It really creates an atmosphere that lets the students know they are not "alone" in the class!

 

From a faculty member, fall 2015:

Both yesterday and today, I walked students over to e-Learning to help then get set up on D2L Brightspace which they need for my class.

 

 

 


Contact Information

Dr. Susan Wolff

Dr. Susan Wolff
CEO/Dean

Phone: 406.771.4305 
Email: susan.wolff@gfcmsu.edu


 

Lorene Jaynes

Lorene Jaynes
Executive Assistant to the CEO/Dean

Phone: 406.771.4305
email: ljaynes@gfcmsu.edu

 

Great Falls College MSU
2100 16th Avenue South
Great Falls, MT 59405

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