Wednesday, May 13, 2009
End of the School Year Frustrations.....
I know times have changed and I understand that my friends and I were probably “cut of a different cloth” (my BFF was one of 3 valedictorians and I was friends with the others as well)……but seriously – how can you as a student sit through an entire class period and do absolutely NOTHING! I do appreciate that you respect me enough to follow my rules and the school rules (extreme kudos for not sleeping, not texting, not talking and not skipping – I guess you know that I will take the time to write you up and turn it in) but geez…..you’re just sitting. Breathing. No doodling or reading. Nothing. Just there. Using Oxygen. Creating CO2. Blinking. Staring.
I get it some of it. You, the student, know you have failed for the year. No sense in trying now as you have to recover your class credit somewhere else any how (summer school, virtual school, retake it next year, etc.).
I have been places (workshops, meeting, etc.) and been bored to tears but I cannot just sit. I draw, make grocery lists, plan lessons, create birthday party ideas, etc. But to just sit in a high school class is beyond me. I have been teaching long enough to know that most likely as a teacher you are not walking into a classroom of dry sponges eager to absorb any and all new information and practice using it. Especially in difficult content areas (like say….any SCIENCE….where it is just as much about information processing skills like predicting, analyzing and quantifying as it is about knowing basic facts) but I just don’t understand. I can empathize but not comprehend.
(Cue flashback sequence) Back when I was in high school….. I did my work not because I really wanted to learn at that point but because it was what I was supposed to do. I did not have a strict parent nor was I threatened to get good grades. I thought my teachers would think of me poorly if I didn’t do my work. I would have disappointed them or maybe even hurt their feelings. I bet that is why I am taking this so tough. My feelings are hurt. I also feel helpless. I have tried since day 1 to change some of their minds – motivate them, excite them, interest them and would only get a glimmer every now and then (which is why they are in the position they are in now not passing the course). How can I make it better?
I am really trying to let it go as it is out of my control (choices they made against my advising) but I can’t cop out like that in my mind. I can talk that talk but not walk the walk. I know I can’t change their minds, habits, work ethic now but I am thinking ahead to next year all ready. What can I do differently to promote learning? I want a fool proof (pun possibly intended) way of teaching.