One of my TAs encountered a disrespectful student in the very first lab of the academic year. He decided to just be 'cool' and not confront the student, but says that he will talk to the student if the problem persists.
This situation raises issues of whether/when I should intervene and talk to such a student. In this case, I have already decided to wait and see if the TA can handle it himself. If the problem persists and he wants me to talk to the disrespectful student, I will certainly do this.
Something that I did have to think more about, however, was whether I wanted to know the name of the disrespectful student. My first reaction was "Don't tell me the name of the student because I don't want to be biased, even subconsciously, against this student." Of course if the problem persists and my intervention is needed, I will know the student's name, but in the meantime, I don't want to know.
But then I thought: Maybe I should know the student's name now because, without even trying, I had formed an idea about which student it was. What if it isn't this student and I am unfairly judging him? And if it is this student, well.. then the situation is unchanged from when I merely guessed it was him. Either way, I would have to squelch any tendencies to treat him more harshly because he can be a jerk, so perhaps I should at least be squelching for the right student?
Should I ask my TA who the jerk is, or wait and see if the problem occurs again?
13 years ago