We are in the stretch to the end of the year and are working with students to prepare for graduating. For most students this means just checking a couple of things to make sure they have met their requirements, but for a couple it means telling them, for what seems like the millionth time, that you have to actually go to classes to pass them.
I was reading Don't Hug them: Dealing with Student Crises in the Chronicle of Higher Education, I have many times had similar conversations with our students when they are struggling to deal with all of the pressures they face. And in this respect a Pathway student is really no different from any other student. Sometimes different circumstances but the same struggles nonetheless.
For many of our students, academics have never been their forte, and I often find it difficult to find the right balance between maintaining high expectations and wanting to help get them through. Nobody likes to see someone struggle, especially when it is clear the the path they are on will result in failure. It is really gets tricky is when dealing with a student that has seen so much previous academic failure. It is difficult to navigate between keeping expectations high and causing a student to shutdown in the face of falling short. But I generally fall, as does the author of the article, on the side of not giving the hug, maybe a small accommodation, but trying to keep the expectations high.