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.
- You suspect that Jan cheated on a recent test. What do you do now?
- 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?
- David, one of your students, calls you an obscene name during class. What
do you do now?
- You overhear Kim call Gene an obscene name while the class is working on
an assigned problem. What do you do now?
- 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?
- You tell Mike to sit down, stop talking, and begin his homework assignment.
He deliberately ignores your instructions. What do you do now?
- You suspect that a student in your present class is under the influence
of drugs. What do you do now?
- 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?
- 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
materials. What do you do now?
- 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
- Two of your students get into a fist fight as your class begins. They ignore
your call for order. What do you do now?
- 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?
- One of your students has been making inappropriate and embarrassing remarks
during class about wanting to date you. What do you do now?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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
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.
The page contained correct solutions to two questions that represented 34%
of the possible points on the final exam. What do you do now?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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)
- 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
- 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)