Ooof. Had my first student blowup yesterday. This particular student is in his senior year, he really needs to pass this class to graduate, and first quarter grades come out this week. And… his quiz grade was not so hot. Long story short: weeks of pent up frustration with physics coming out, pretty aggressively and with lots of swearing. Not a pleasant situation and very uncomfortable. I sat down, not retreating or exacerbating, and tried to calmly explain why I had given him the grade I did. I also tried to gently point out that the time to come in with your misunderstandings is not right before the test.
To be honest, I think in that moment he really needed to vent. I’d like to think that I was able to show that I sympathized with his position and listened to his concerns, but in the moment it was really hard to think. In retrospect I think I handled it decently well, but it’s not the kind of thing that lends itself to easy self-reflection.
I’ll keep an eye out to make sure this student is doing ok and maybe check in with him in a few days.
One more thing to add to the list of things that are really hard about this job… it’s tough to care and not know what to do.