Another Monday

So, I met with my Monday hybrid class this morning. The class itself went pretty well; nearly everyone was there and we managed to get through an amazing amount of material in the scant two hours we have alloted to us. I’m feeling much less pessimistic about this class as a whole after today, though I still have grave doubts about some specific individuals. I also decided, after meeting with my boss in the copy room this morning, that I’m going to teach my classes exactly the same way; that I’m not going to be afraid to load my hybrid class up with the work I feel they need to do just because they don’t seem willing to do it.

Another Comp. teacher was in the room when I was explaining to Joe that I don’t feel as though I’m doing my best for these students because I’m hesitant to give them the work that they need to boost their skills and reinforce the concepts that I’m teaching them. “They’re not doing the work I’m giving them now,” I explained, “I don’t want to give them more work that they’re just not going to do. All that does is increase their opportunities for failure.” While both Joe and the other teacher agreed that this may be the likely outcome of my giving the students the work I feel they need, they both pointed out that this is college: these students have the choice of whether to participate in their education or not, and my hesitancy to give them the work they need to do in order to learn what I’ve been contracted to teach them is serving no one.

The students went home today with a worksheet and nine assignments from the book (understand, though, that the book assignments are things like “write five sentences” about something or “identify the subject and verb in the following sentences” or “think of four different synonyms for the following five words”). Starting next week, there will be significant writing assignments added to their general grammar lessons (becuase they still need the grammar lessons). I’ve also told them that I’m going to stop grading on a credit/no credit basis; that they’re going to have to start putting some real effort into making sense with what they write to me.

Joe told me that he and the head chef are going to be making the rounds to Gen. Ed classes starting next week, making public service announcements (though I suspect these will seem much more like not-so-thinly veiled threats) about how important it is to do well in the math, English and computer science courses the students are required to take to complete their degrees. I’m not entirely certain these will help, but the certainly can’t hurt.

Oh, and one last thing: I was sitting outside my classroom, waiting for the 8:10-11:00 class to finish, when I heard this from one of my – shall we say – lesser motivated students as he came up the stairs:

“I haven’t passed an English class since the sixth grade.”

Yep; and if you keep with your current strategy, you’ll keep that perfect streak going through this semester, too!

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3 Comments

Filed under concerns, Teaching

3 responses to “Another Monday

  1. You need a spin doctor. The spin is this: the more assignments you give them the more chance there is that one of those assignments will strike a chord with the students and they’ll hook into the class. Have to use a shotgun with these folks, not a rifle.

  2. You can be my official spin doctor. And you know what? Sometimes, I really DO want a rifle!

  3. I’d also like to know what it is about us that when I heard the failing story I immediately blamed it on the teacher/school (how did he get where he is without passing, why weren’t they helping him?) and you immediately blamed it on the student (why did he choose to fail over and over and why is he looking forward to it again?). We could both be right, there’s nothing in the story that indicates either way, we both jumped to conclusion, but why did we jump to such polarly opposite ones?

    “I didn’t jump to conclusions. I took a small step, and there conclusions were.”
    - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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