Crunch Time

There are two weeks of classes left at TCC.  Two more weeks – four more classes – then the summer term ends.

There are a lot of my students who are failing their classes.  Every term, at about this time, I start thinking about ways that I can ethically offer those students a chance to dig themselves out of the holes they’ve been enthusiastically digging all semester, and I’ve gone and done it again.

That’s me!  Ever the optimist!

The whole contingent of my classes got a bonus from me this week.  TCC, like all schools which receive federal funding, is required to recognize Constitution week.  This week – all week – there are special programs designed around various amendments to the Constitution that students can attend on campus.  I told all of my students – both in class and via a detailed email – that they can earn extra credit points from me for attending and writing eloquently and thoughtfully about these seminars.

Today’s program was supposedly centered around the 14th Amendment – that’s the one called the “equal protection clause” – and TCC lined up a bunch of kids from the area OUTRIGHT program – that’s a GBLTQ support group – to come and talk about their experiences as one of the the only remaining groups left who AREN’T granted equal protection under the law.

I say “supposedly” because, while the amendment was discussed at the opening of the program, the rest of the day was more of a Q&A with the panel – there wasn’t much discussion of the equal protection that gays and lesbians and transgendered people DON’T have – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  A lot of these students haven’t yet had an opportunity to think in terms of “the other” yet, so the panel’s offering up of those experiences was a good thing for the audience, I think.

Of course, the point of this entry isn’t really to talk about the program – I’ll probably do that tomorrow over at the Blue Door.  Nope, my point today is this: despite my practically BEGGING my students to take full advantage of this program, and my generosity in offering up extra credit opportunities in the first place, only two of my students showed up – and they were only there because the teacher who runs their second period class (the period the program ran through) was also running today’s Constitution Week offering.

Oh, well.  At least I can go to sleep at night knowing that I’ve gone above and beyond my obligation to give these students every chance to succeed.  They get to choose whether they take me up on it…

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4 Comments

Filed under concerns, frustrations

4 responses to “Crunch Time

  1. Last year our Constitution day program was a lawyer who is working on the case FOR the sex toy seller here in Huntsville who is fighting the illegality of selling sex toys. This case has been ongoing for decades and I think it has one more shot at appeal before Alabamians are forever barred from selling sex toys. Note that it is not illegal to own them or buy them.

    The speaker was awesome. He had a good ole boy lawyer accent (as in my cousin vinny) – and he kept referring to it as the Dildo case. And talked about the goodie baskets he got from his clients and his interaction with the ACLU. Fascinating. Although some people were embarrassed – I thought it was a hoot. I hope we get something that good this year.

    I know I blogged about it last September. I need to go look it up.

  2. Alas, I privatized the post! (I had talked about work, then later went back and hid all those.)

  3. I make many deicsions just so that I can say I didn’t bar any chance to succeed. Based on your posts, I’m starting to think TCC is the type of community college most of my students attend at least for a bit.

    I had a student today not participate in class because her mother was up sick and kept her from sleeping, and she wasn’t feeling well herself, supposedly (key word for teachers). I say supposedly cause when she was amongst friends, she seemed ok. Anyway, it’s difficult because at this poinst she’s the only student in her class, so I’m trying my best to not just lecture with only one student, and she did NOTHING today. I bent over backwards to get her to find some quotes in the book I’m having her read, and nada. I told her she got a one day pass, but from now on we have to find a way to cooperate in the learning process. Wifey said she wouldn’t have done that much, but I want to be able to say that I didn’t give her a chance. If I can spend the rest of my time as her educator being able to use that one day as an example of my willingness to work with a student, then it was well wasted.

    Sad, but true.

  4. Siobhan Curious

    Our college has a gradekeeping system by which students can log in at any time to see their grades for assignments and their overall average so far in each class. I’ve found since this system was put into place, students show much more concern, and much earlier in the term, about how they’re doing, and are more likely to pick themselves up and/or come for extra help. Do you have such a system? If not, is there any way to put one in place?

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