Skip to content

edu180atl: ritu lohtia 9.27.11

Today, I received an email from a student who I taught recently.  Even though it was a large class, I distinctly remember her – she would always sit in the front of my class, and was very proactive in class discussions.  While she never missed a class and seemed to be paying attention, it did not translate into a high grade. I assumed that she was not working hard enough.

I just learned from her email that she has been battling cancer for a while and is working hard to complete her undergraduate degree.  She is looking to transfer to a different school (to be close to her fiancé as she goes through her medical treatment) and some grades she received may prevent her from transferring.  She asked me if she could do extra work for an opportunity to improve her grade.

I learned a few things as I reflect upon her request and decide how to respond.  One, don’t reach any conclusions without getting the true story.  Two, never say never.  In my two decades I have been disciplined to ensure that I am always fair and give all students the same opportunity at all times.  But, I am now faced with a specific situation where I am exploring how I can make an exception.  Three, having seen her determination and attitude, reinforces the need to be positive.

Don’t jump to any conclusions, be flexible, and stay positive!

Ritu Lohtia is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Georgia State University, where she has been teaching for 21 years.  She loves to cook and travel with her husband and two daughters.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ritu:

    You post is full of great advice for all of us, especially teachers because we are faced with having to make hundreds of complex decisions every single day. Jon Saphier, a wonderful educator and writer, wrote:

    “Teaching is one of the most complex human endeavors imaginable.”

    Your situation explains why his comment is so true. I do like the conclusion you came to–“don’t jump to conclusions, be flexible, and stay positive.”

    I can totally understand why you might consider how to help this former student. No doubt she would be grateful for your generosity.

    Good luck and thank you for posting.

    Bob Ryshke
    Center for Teaching

    September 28, 2011
  2. Nice post and great advice.

    September 28, 2011
  3. ameyo dia #

    To help resolve this issue tactfully, I would suggest offering the entire class extra credit work, this way you can be fair and also accomodate her needs.

    October 13, 2011
  4. Ritu Lohtia #


    Thanks for your suggestion. Unfortunately, it was a semester ago so I am not able to do that.


    October 14, 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: