Q: What are some signs a student may be troubled?
Students in distress may not be disruptive to others buy may exhibit behaviors that indicate something problematic. They may also be reluctant or unable to acknowledge a need for personal help.
Behaviors may include:
- Marked changes in academic performance or class attendance;
- Withdrawal and/or lack of participation, increased anxiety around exams or deadlines, or difficulty working in teams;
- Changes in emotional states (e.g., sadness, crying, lethargy, irritability, rapid speech, preoccupation, increased and more intense disagreement with peers and/or instructors, a sense of confusion);
- Changes in physical well-being (e.g., swollen eyes from crying, increased illnesses, poor hygiene, rapid weight loss/gain, sleeping in class);
- Repeated requests for special consideration (e.g., deadline extensions, changes in requirements, grade changes); or
- Behaviors that may interfere with effective management of the learning environment (e.g., outbursts of anger, domination of discussion).
Q: How should I respond to a troubled student?
For students who are mildly or moderately troubled:
- Address the situation on an individual level; consider having another faculty/staff member meet with you and the student.
- Consult with the Office of the Dean of Students at 337-482-6276, Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities 337-482-6373 or Counseling & Testing Center at 337-482-6481.
- Avoid offering confidentiality to the student should he or she wish to talk.
- Deal directly with the behavior according to the classroom protocol; provide kind, corrective feedback, and offer help.
- Encourage the student to use campus and community resources; offer to walk the student to the area of assistance or call to make an appointment.
Inform and consult with your supervisor.