In spite of your best intentions, situations will sometimes arise - illness,
family emergencies, overwhelming career projects - that prevent your being
adequately prepared for a particular class meeting. Formulate now a contingency
plan to address this situation when it happens to you. Some possibilities
Focusing on a critical concept addressed in your previous class meeting,
identify a current, relevant example. Then, identify several perspectives
from which the issue might be viewed, fostering within students a
more comprehensive understanding of the concept. For example, if your
Business Law class had studied bankruptcy, focus on a recently announced
corporate bankruptcy. Divide the class into groups of three or four
students, each of which would focus on the case from the viewpoint
of shareholders, employees, suppliers, and other critical stakeholder
Recruit a guest speaker from your circle of friends or work colleagues,
who you know to have made a presentation on a topic of relevance in
your course. Ask them to reprise their presentation and answer student
questions that might emerge. Take good notes during the presentation,
and use these to stimulate further discussion after the guest leaves.
Be aware, of course, that you have incurred a significant personal
debt, and offer to repay it promptly in a way that would be perceived
as valuable to your guest speaker.
Identify a late-breaking news story. Assign students to one of several
key roles, e.g. press, governmental agency investigator, private interest
group, etc. to formulate their response to the situation. Ask each
group to select a representative to serve on a press conference panel
to present their view of the case to the public. Debrief the points-of-view
Assign students to groups of three or four. Then ask them to complete
a "chunk" of a previously made assignment, or develop five
questions that you would consider for inclusion on the next examination.
Today's students are quite perceptive, so some might perceive your predicament.
Most will excuse one less than stellar performance, but not a second or third.
Begin your planning for subsequent class meetings earlier than has been previous
practice, minimizing the chances of putting yourself in this tough spot again.
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