Professors are reporting record numbers of students checked out, stressed out, and unsure of their future.
In 20 years of teaching at Doane University, Kate Marley has never seen anything like it. Twenty to 30 percent of her students do not show up for class or complete any of the assignments. The moment she begins to speak, she says, their brains seem to shut off. If she asks questions on what she’s been talking about, they don’t have any idea. On tests they struggle to recall basic information.
“Stunning” is the word she uses to describe the level of disengagement she and her colleagues have witnessed across the Nebraska campus. “I don’t seem to be capable of motivating them to read textbooks or complete assignments,” she says of that portion of her students. “They are kind kids. They are really nice to know and talk with. I enjoy them as people.” But, she says, “I can’t figure out how to help them learn.”
Marley, a biology professor, hesitates to talk to her students about the issue, for fear of making them self-conscious, but she has a pretty good idea of what is happening. In addition to two years of shifting among online, hybrid, and in-person classes, many students have suffered deaths in their families, financial insecurity, or other pandemic-related trauma. That adds up to a lot of stress and exhaustion. In a first-year seminar last fall, Marley says, she provided mental-health counseling referrals to seven out of her 17 students.Continue reading… “A ‘STUNNING’ LEVEL OF STUDENT DISCONNECTION”