It seems that around 2/3 of the way through every semester I find myself dealing with issues that have become major problems for a few students. Even after seven years of teaching college courses I still have a hard time being proactive in dealing with student problems. This is especially true if students do not do anything to establish themselves as “good” early in the semester.
One student, for example, missed three weeks of classes in a row before missing the first exam. I assumed that the student was planning to drop the class. I was wrong. When students were working on group projects and papers late in the semester, this same student neglected her group responsibilities. It is possible that she has been dealing with problems in her work or family life or that she just doesn’t care about my course. It is also possible that she has emotional or psychological problems that have prevented her from coming to class and performing her student responsibilities.
If she had been coming to class regularly at the beginning of the semester, I may have been more likely to reach out to her when problems developed. It would also be nice if students were more proactive in explaining their situations to me. As it is, though, I need to work on reaching out to students who are MIA before their problems become insurmountable (at least in terms of their grades in my courses).