Today was a busy day in the library as you can probably guess by my just now getting to the Motivator. Students had drafts of research papers due, but even more time-consuming, several sections required PowerPoint presentations that were due tonight. Emily bore the brunt of the latter group’s questions and did it with her usual grace and patience.
One problem with questions about PowerPoint on the assignment’s due date is that they seem to be the same questions over and over again. How do I get a background? How do I add a picture? How do I save it? By the end of the day, if you’re not careful, you’re tempted to answer a little shortly, or snap a little bit, or ask in desperation, “Did you not think of doing this assignment before today?”
But there is one thing we try to keep in mind. While this may be the fifteenth student with the same question today for us, it is the first time for the student asking. His or her anxiety level at trying to get the work done in time will not be helped by our frustration at hearing the same question again.
So what we try to do (and Emily does this much better than I) is wipe the slate clean after each student and treat each question as if it’s the first time we’ve heard it.
Sure, it’s not always easy to do. But every student deserves the right to feel as if he’s being treated as a person with a question, not just the 50th question of the day.
So the motivator for this week: Try to wipe the slate clean after each question and problem today, and look at each student’s request with fresh eyes.