I’m taking my last class before I graduate from an Ivy League University with my Master’s in Psychological Counseling. And you know what’s ironic? Right now I’m failing the class because I don’t “talk enough”.
I was asked to stay after class last night to talk with the professor and TA. They handed me a legal size envelope with two pages written out detailing my performance in the class.
They explained that my journals are “above average”, which, Thank God, because my last journal received a grade of 3- the highest possible score. In the small group I’ve been asking questions and making comments. My participation is not a problem. It’s the large group discussion where I’m struggling.
My participation in the large group is “generally passive” and my contributions “involve personal constructions or idiosyncratic interpretations of the material, rather than demonstrating a developing competency based on readings, skill development and self-awareness”. Apparently my “inactivity” is making it difficult for them to gauge my “level of competency” and “skill development”. I think it’s crap.
When it was time for me to make my case I explained that I have always had difficulty talking in large groups. I am intimidated. It’s my nature as an introvert to remain in the background and listen while others speak. It’s not that I’m disinterested in the material (like they thought), it’s that I’m just a quiet person.
The professor and TA said they understood where I was coming from, but if my performance didn’t change I would certainly fail the course. Actually, they gave me the option to drop out. I said no. If I don’t pass this class this semester I won’t graduate in May. That’s not an option.
It’s not that I don’t understand the material or engage in class, I can do it in the small group; it’s the large group that is intimidating and I feel more comfortable listening.
The professor mentioned that maybe I should come to class with a list of topics I can talk about. I’ll try it. He said he believes I can improve my grade, I just need to participate more. Just talk, he said. Easier said than done, I thought.
Maybe you blogfriends can help me. Have you ever been told you need to talk more in class? Has this ever been a problem for you? How did you overcome it?