Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Take Five Week 9-1

My regular Freshmen, which are regular by no means, are earning grades this year far below any class I have encountered previously. It led me to the idea yesterday that I must be not doing something right. I have never had a struggle like this with kids in my class before especially concerning them just turning in work. I have not ranted and raved (surprisingly, I have heard of little, if nothing, from their parents) and until a couple of days ago, did not even tell them how dissapointed I was in with their lack of achievement. To make it worse, after I did have a "Come To Jesus" meeting with them regarding their grades, there still was a good majority who did not complete the assignment for the next day. So I asked myself, "Self, what is the deal? Is it you or is it these kids?" But then I remembered something we had talked about in class; the grade I assign to them for not turning in their work is just a small measure of their learning. Look at how they talk, discuss, and participate in our discussions. Look at how involved they are with the process of learning for the fifty-five minutes I have them in my classroom. That is the learning I should be more concerned about, and not solely focusing on their letter grade. (Disclaimer: notice I said I should be more concerned about it than the letter; I am still not giving up on the letter quite yet).


Blogger Karl Fisch said...

Keep reminding your "self" to keep putting up the good fight. Maybe you can't always get them to turn in their assignments, but I know you're engaging them in class and they are learning tons. And it's a process - we have them (well, most of them) for four years. If we all keep expecting (and demanding) great things from them, they will respond.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Crosby said...

It is so interesting to hear these same comments coming from English. We implemented a new freshman history curriculum this year, and started the year extremely frustrated. We soon realized that although the curriculum certainly needs to be tweaked, this was probably a terrible year to test it because these freshmen, as a group, are so incredibly low in ability level and effort. So take heart in the fact that you are not alone! (I have heard similar comments coming from Heritage and Littleton, too. There must have been something in the water the year that this class was born!)

10:07 PM  
Blogger Roger Hess said...

At least you still see your students learning and demonstrating their knowledge in class. I have a particularly low sophomore class one hour, and I have the same frustration about turning in work that you do. Unfortunately, it is also very difficult to sustain a discussion or even a good constructivist activity with them. There has been improvement over the semester, so at least I can take some encouragement from that. So hang in there!

9:03 AM  
Blogger McBride said...

I know what your going through, i guess we can say "well it must just be this class" however, its frustrating. Although I have only taught US history for 3 years, what I have used in the past sparked great discussions etc. However, this year I am having two problems, one is their grades (the come to jesus didnt work) and secondly I can not seem to get them engaged (compared to years past). Frustrating...maybe second semester will shed some light....

10:13 AM  

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