I Wish to Convene a Pow-wow

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Monday hybrid class.  I’m horribly concerned, and I need some guidance.

I wrote here about what I assigned for them.  While my “full compliance” average is going up – THREE students did everything I asked this week –  the number of students who completed only part of the work went down.

My problem is this: I do not feel as though I’m being an effective teacher in this situation.  I have a group of kids who are (obviously) less than motivated to do the work that I ask of them.  The issue with that – well, beyond the obvious – is that, as it is, I’m not giving them nearly ENOUGH work for what I’m teaching, and I’m afraid to give them more becuase, if they can’t keep up with the namby-ass amount of writing I’m giving them now, they’re going to positively evaporate if I were to start giving them more.

I’ve spoken to my boss about the problem, and he’s spoken to the department head for the culinary school about it.  When I passed Joe in the hallway last week, he mentioned that he and the head chef would be dropping into ALL the Gen-Ed. classes, either this coming week or next, to talk to the students about getting their collective acts together.  As it turns out, mine is not the only Gen-Ed. class that’s experiencing these compliance problems.

I’m wondering, though, if it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to seek out the head chef ahead of time to express my concerns about the amount of work I feel I can reasonably give my students.  I am invested in seeing them succeed, certainly, but not if “success” means giving them only what work they’ll deign to do.  I’m not comfortable sending them out at the end of my class not knowing what I’ve been asked to teach them, but I’m not at all confident that they’ll be able to keep up with what I would have them do to satisfy MY standards.

I may just go in early tomorrow to see if I can hunt down Joe and the culinary department head.  Now, if I could only remember where I left the damned peace pipe…..



Filed under concerns, Learning, Teaching

3 responses to “I Wish to Convene a Pow-wow

  1. nhfalcon

    Maybe this says something about me and my qualifications (or lack thereof) as a teacher, but are you a teacher or a drill sergeant? It is your job to do everything you can to impart knowledge, not motivate a bunch of lazy-ass time wasters. If some of your “learners” – and I use that term loosely, based on what I’ve read about this bunch – choose not to absorb that knowledge, then that’s their fault and their problem, not yours. They’re in college now, not grammar school. They’re supposedly adults. If they choose to fail, then fail ’em. It’s their money (or more than likely Mommy’s and Daddy’s) they’re wasting, not yours.

    I could understand your concerns if they were grammar or junior high students, maybe even high school students, but these are allegedly mature adults – let ’em deal with the consequences of their actions.

  2. nhfalcon, in a community college like this one I think it tends to be the student’s own money.

    Chili, I’m confused about why you need a peace pipe. I’m assuming that the head of the culinary dept is going to want to help you get the kids working. Am I wrong.

  3. The thing I’m left with about this is how you might modify the content of your program to be more relevant (and therefore engaging) to them. By that, I mean that, perhaps, there might be something in the topics or the class activities that could be tweaked to promote more participation. Just throwing it out there…

    That said, when it all comes down to it, the students, themselves, are the ones who have to make the choice to engage in the learning. Even if it’s to talk to you about how they might make the class their own, if they’re showing an interest in what they’re doing you have something to build on. If they saunter in, flop down and dare you to teach them, they’ve clearly missed the point. I get the sense from what you’re saying, though, that many of your students just don’t see writing as relevant to their studies. What do you think?

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