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Peak of Frustration February 9, 2007

Posted by reddlissa in Uncategorized.
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I think I’ve reached the lowest point in my teaching career.  As many of you know, my high school is caught in a rapid downfall that appears to have no end in sight.  Discipline is non-existent and the students have figured out they can get away with just about anything while at school.  The profanity in the halls is enough to turn my stomach, fights are becoming more dangerous (some have included weapons), there is absolutely no respect for any authority figure, and the kids are so lazy I’m amazed they find the energy to get dressed in the morning and actually get on the bus.  Many members of the administrative staff operate under the idea that it is the teachers’ job to entertain, coddle, enable, and spoon-feed these kids so that no child fails and no one’s self-esteem is damaged.  Other administrators have completely given up the fight and have the defeatist attitude that kids are going to be bad and get into trouble so why bother trying to prevent or stop them.

 Needless to say it is very difficult to maintain a positive and upbeat attitude at work.  I generally like to have fun in the classroom, and I try to find interesting and “outside-the-box” projects for my kids to work on.  In past years my students have enjoyed the class work and I have seen some amazing and creative products from them.  This year I have to spend so much time and energy just getting the kids to stay in their desks that I don’t have time for fun.  As a group my kids are much lower in their skill base than ever before.  I gave my English class a grammar test that I adapted from one of my daughter’s tests.  She is in 4th grade and scored an A on the assignment.  My 11th grade students FAILED!  Obviously the need to reteach subjects, verbs, simple sentences, and paragraph organization is more important than having a fun assignment.  Worse that the weak discipline and low skill base is a general attitude of laziness.  A majority of my students will not do homework, no matter how simple the assignment may be.  They will not read a chapter in a novel; they will not proofread and rewrite a rough draft; they will not study for a vocabulary quiz; they will not complete bonus study questions for a test.  They seem to have no interest in school work until the week before report cards come out and then I am badgered by 50 weepy-eyed kids for “extra credit.”  I must admit that sometimes the urge to laugh in their sweet little faces is almost overwhelming.  (By the way, I do not allow any student who has missed an assignment to complete extra credit work.)  

I did premiliminary six-weeks averages for my junior English classes today.  Out of 70 students only 10 are passing.  40% of the assignments this six weeks were basic completion grades — you turn in the work and you earn a 100%.  I’m at the point that I honestly don’t know what else to do short of completing all the assignments for them.  We have a test over our novel on Monday and I am praying that they actually complete the test review/studysheet (which has all the answers to the test on it) so they can pass the test and bring these horrible grades up to passing.  I can’t toatlly give up on them yet.      

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