This blogpost and podcast is for our colleagues in higher educations, professors, the world over. As we get underway with the beginning of our academic year, we wish you all the best that this noble profession has to offer.

This is the first in our series on teaching. We begin with a look at students who are in trouble and experiencing difficult times.

LEVEL ONE:  Your student is having a bad week. The challenges are disturbing but not serious.

  • When you have a large group of students on a field trip you are taking them out of their comfort zone and this may result in stress and difficulties for them. You might find yourself needing to tend to a need not directly related to learning.  Professors: prepare to be interrupted.
  • “Time” is the element that you will need to give to help students in minor situations. Take the time to be available to your students.
  • If we get into a mode where life has to always go as planned that’s when we begin to miss the students who are in trouble and need our help.
  • There is great value for us to arrive a few minutes before class begins and an even greater value for us to stick around after the class. It’s amazing how students will come up to you and say things! How big is there problem? Are they asking for help or do they simply want to talk to you.
  • Students who are away from home at college can be experiencing great difficulties. You may be the person who can be the good listener when a students needs to talk about a situation that is troubling them.
  • On our Twitter account we recently read this from a College Student: The homesickness is almost too much to bear. I wish I could fall asleep now. Students in that situation are not thinking as much as they should about school.


LEVEL TWO: Your student is having serious problems and might need “services”. These are items that a professor can care about but need to hand off.


  • DAVID:  Truth time – When I encounter a situation that is potentially serious, my first inclination is to run the other way. That usually last for about a minute or so, then I say to myself, Pecoraro – you must investigate to discover if this is serious and discover if they might need help. 
  • Sometimes it is a “Student having a normal problem” “Sometimes it is a student in distress.”  Making the distinction between the two is our challenge.
  • We have colleagues who do the right thing: They don’t help the student themselves, rather they walk the student over to the services on-campus that are trained to help them. Pause for a moment and think about all of the heartache that can save if it prevents a tragedy.
  • We recommend that you always have on hand, a list of professional services on campus so you can quickly get in touch with them to help your student. Moreover, it is a good idea to have this information in your syllabus.
  • STUDENT: “Things are not going well, I need help.” – Create for your students an opportunity for them to share how their college experience is going. You may discover something like this statement.
  • When you build relationships to get to know your students… Who knows how a simple conversation with them will make a significant difference in their lives?


One of the joys of teaching in college is that you get to mingle with age group who are entering a very exciting stage of their life. That is a great thing!


If you find that you are thinking of students as a distraction or annoyance, your too busy.



Please join us next week for: SC 85 #2. Teaching Students who are on Fire to Learn / Guiding our students academic passions.


Right or control click here to download the MP3 of the Podcast.

 SC 84 #1. Teaching Students in Trouble

We need your feedback so we may continue to fulfill our mission statement and help students, the world over.

Thank you!

Daniel & David


SC 84 #1. Teaching Students in Trouble