Situation of the Day: What Do You Do Now?

#1-#23 provided by Beverly Rich, Ph.D.
Department of Mathematics
Illinois State University

#24-#25 provided by Carl Wenning, Coordinator
Physics Teacher Education Program
Illinois State University

#26-#28 provided by Student Teacher David Eddy

How will you respond to each of the situation described below? These are all based on actual events that took place in secondary schools.

  1. You suspect that Jan cheated on a recent test. What do you do now?
  2. Pat tells her father that you accused her of cheating. The irate father calls you and becomes verbally abusive over the phone. What do you do now?
  3. David, one of your students, calls you an obscene name during class. What do you do now?
  4. You overhear Kim call Gene an obscene name while the class is working on an assigned problem. What do you do now?
  5. Sharon does not have her daily homework with her today. Your records show this is the fifth time in two weeks that she hasn’t done her homework. She tells you she just doesn’t want to do daily homework anymore. What do you do now?
  6. You tell Mike to sit down, stop talking, and begin his homework assignment. He deliberately ignores your instructions. What do you do now?
  7. You suspect that a student in your present class is under the influence of drugs. What do you do now?
  8. A new student has just been transferred into your physics class. It’s apparent that the new student speaks no English. What do you do now?
  9. Jeff never brings his books, paper, pencils, or other materials to class. Other students have noticed this and now many of them have been doing the same thing. Whenever you ask for an explanation, they just claim to have forgotten their
    materials. What do you do now?
  10. Some students have been bringing and using portable CD players and iPods in class. Your school has no explicit policy on the matter. What do you do now?
  11. Two of your students get into a fist fight as your class begins. They ignore your call for order. What do you do now?
  12. The teacher in the room next to yours comes in to complain that your class is too noisy. You are completing a laboratory activity during class. What do you do now?
  13. One of your students has been making inappropriate and embarrassing remarks during class about wanting to date you. What do you do now?
  14. Your students are supposed to return equipment to its original location following a lab, but they have left much of it connected and strewn about the desktop. Now they are heading for the door in anticipation of the end-of-period bell. When you ask they to leave the materials in the way you left them, they say that the students in the class before left them similarly disorganized. What do you do now?
  15. When you were absent yesterday, your fourth-period class gave the substitute teacher a hard time; according to the note he left for you (with a copy sent to the principal!!), many students refused to work at all, four or five left for the restroom and never returned, and a paper-and-spit wad fight raged all period. As the tardy bell rings, you enter the room to greet your fourth-period class. What do you do now?
  16. During your discussion of the current lesson, Jack and Jill trade notes and laugh inappropriately. You sense that other students’ attention is being captured by the duo’s antics and you begin to be annoyed by having to compete for the class’ attention. What do you do now?
  17. As you begin class, you observe Donalda eating a Twinkie in violation of the rule prohibiting food in the classroom. When she sees that you notice her, Donalda stuffs the Twinkie into her mouth and gets another one out of the package. What do you do now?
  18. As you walk down the hallway, you hear two students trading insults: “Your mama. .., etc.” The students are not angry yet, just “fooling around” but several other students are gathering and you think they may encourage the two students to fight. What do you do now?
  19. Victor has not been working on his assignment. You caught his eye, but he looked away and continued to talk to nearby students. As you move around the room checking other students’ progress, he begins to make a paper airplane of the worksheet you gave him. What do you do now?
  20. Bubba has been sliding by lately, doing the minimum and barely passing. At the end of class today, he asks you if it would be all right to turn in his project a “few days late”. He knows that you have already giving similar permission to two other students who had difficulty obtaining needed materials. What do you do now?
  21. Louise, one of the students in the class, had visited with you earlier in the day, getting help on several review problems she had been studying but did not understand. After the visit, you realized that Louise was still confused about certain ideas. What do you do now?
  22. When the exam was giving during class, Louise was one of two students still writing when you called for the papers at the end of the testing period. The next morning, you find an envelope in your mailbox containing a note from Louise:

    When I got home yesterday, I found the enclosed page in my notebook. It is one of the pages from the final exam. Please accept the fact that in no way did I alter the answers on the page. As you might remember, I was one of the last to turn in my exam and in my rush I forgot to include this page. Thanks.

    The page contained correct solutions to two questions that represented 34% of the possible points on the final exam. What do you do now?
  23. Your stepson attends class at the same school where you teach. He informs you one day that a fellow female student (who you do not know) has told your stepson that she is being sexually abused by her stepfather. According the the report, the stepfather asks the girl's mother to "go on an errand," and then forces the stepdaughter downstairs to the basement where he has his way with her. What do you do now?
  24. You have a physics student who appears to be set on "self destruct." He fails to do homework assignments, fools around in labs, and generally wastes time when taking tests and quizzes. Other than that, he's not a "evil" student; he just acts immature. The student contributes meaningfully to class discussions, but refuses to do any written work. You have consulted with the parents, and they too are at a loss of how to motivate the student. What do you do now?
  25. A student is standing in the hall way, outside the door of your classroom, when the bell rings. He's supposed to be "ready to participate" in class activities when the bell rings. He is not. What do you do now?
  26. Before your class begins you stand by your door in the hallway welcoming your next hour of physics students. Just down the hall you see two girl students talking angrily at one another and exchanging insults. As you go to investigate and move toward the girls, one of them throws a punch and hits the other girl straight in the nose and a fight breaks out. What do you do now? (DE)
  27. You have just begun your student teaching and your cooperating teacher needs to leave the room for a little while and she leaves you in charge. The students are supposed to be working quietly in their seats on a project. As soon as the cooperating teacher leaves the room some students start wandering around the room talking to other students and ignore their project. What should you do? (DE)
  28. You give a quiz to your class. One of your students did not study for the quiz and gets frustrated. She starts to complain loudly to no one in particular by saying "This is too hard" and "This is unfair." She also frequently makes loud sighs of annoyance. Eventually she gives up, throws her pencil down and pushes the quiz away from her where it falls off her desk. What do you do now? (DE)