Level 3 These problems are easiest to identify and the easiest to handle, at least to the extent that specific procedures for helping students in crisis have been spelled out. Sometimes Public Safety may need to be called or the student referred to the judicial system for disciplinary action. Basically, you need to stay calm and know who to call for help. The information is outlined in the section of this pamphlet titled ASSISTANCE AND EMERGENCY REFERRALS.
In dealing with a student who shows Level 1 or Level 2 behavior, you have several choices. You can choose to not deal with it at all; deal directly with the request or disruptive behavior in a way that limits your interaction to the classroom issue; or you can deal with the situation on a more personal level.
If you chose to approach a student you're concerned about or if a student seeks you out for help with personal problems, here are some suggestions which might make the opportunity more comfortable for you and helpful for the student;
- Talk to the student in private when both of you have time and are not rushed or preoccupied. Give the student your undivided attention. It is possible that just a few minutes of effective listening on your part may be enough to help the student feel confident about what to do next.
- If you have initiated the contact, express your concern in behavioral, nonjudgmental terms (e.g., "I've noticed you've been absent from class lately and I'm concerned," rather than "Where have you been lately? Goofing off again?").
- Listen to thoughts and feelings in a sensitive non-threatening way. Communicate understanding by repeating back the essence of what the student has told you. Try to include both the content and feelings ("It sounds like you're not accustomed to such a big campus and you're feeling left out of things.") Let the student talk.
- Work with the student to clarify the costs and benefits of each option for handling the problem from the student's point of view.
- Avoid judging, evaluating, criticizing even if the student asks your opinion. Such behavior is apt to close the student off from you and from getting the help needed. It is important to respect the student's value system, even if you don't agree with it.