Clearly, This Sort of Thing Has Worked for Them So Far

You know, if it didn’t actually HAPPEN to me, I wouldn’t believe it, either…

1. A month ago, I announced, loudly and for about a week, that my Pink Paper Policy was coming to an end. I posted the details of the new and improved homework policy on the classes’ websites. I handed out hard copies of what I put on the sites. Further, I told the kids that they had until today to get in everything they owed me; anything that wasn’t finished by today stays a zero in their grade book.

LAST NIGHT, a girl whom I’ve not seen for about three weeks (not sure why she’s not coming to school) emailed me.
Im sorry I have been out
Could I have an Updated list of things I need to turn in to you

Um. No. I’ll see you in class next year, because there’s no way you’re passing this term.

2. One student – a painfully immature junior – decided to resubmit an essay I’d sent back to her for a rewrite without actually rewriting it. I don’t know what she thinks that’s going to get her; the piece earned her zero points the first time, and it’s clearly no better now.

3. I’ve got one kid in the freshman sophomore class who fancies himself a wordsmith. The end result is that his papers are almost always nearly incomprehensible. I think he subscribes to the “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit” school of thought; I really do believe that he thinks that if he uses “big words,” people will think he’s smart. Here’s a hint, my darling; in order to sound smart, you’ve really got to understand what all those big words actually mean.

4. One boy, who’s done just about nothing all term, proudly handed me a stack of make-up work this morning. A quick glance through it showed me that he must have spent all of ten minutes putting the answers to my (pretty complex) questions together. I’ll replace his zeros with 50s, but there’s no way he’s getting full credit for two-sentence answers to essay questions.

Oy. I’m actually looking forward to this five day break.



Filed under concerns, dumbassery, failure, frustrations, General Griping, I love my job, student chutzpah, That's your EXCUSE?!, Yikes!, You're kidding...right?

7 responses to “Clearly, This Sort of Thing Has Worked for Them So Far

  1. ImprobableJoe

    Two words: fucking AWESOME!

    Gosh, this sounds just like my teachers complaining… and since I’m in my 30s, and it would be unprofessional to complain to their fellow teachers, they tell ME everything.

    We do online quizzes for my math class, worth 10% of the final grade, and some people do all 3-5 of them the day they are due, at 10 minutes to midnight, and get really wildly low grades. They usually do really bad on the tests as well. Then they hop online and complain that the teacher does a crappy job teaching. Joy.

  2. Joe, I mean it – if these things didn’t actually happen to me, I wouldn’t believe it.

    I just got off the phone with the guidance counselor about the student from #1 – the kid sent me another email half an hour ago asking what a particular assignment entailed (one that, not for nothing, is painfully articulated on the class’s website) I told Ms. Counselor that I wasn’t willing to accept work from this kid; that kid knew full well that the deadline for missing work was today and, well, the deadline has passed. If she’d been in touch with me ANY time before 8:45 on the night before the work was due, I might be willing to negotiate a new date for her (she has been sick), but I’m not down with giving her a pass for being lazy. Ms. Counselor totally backed me up. “You don’t have to accept that work,” she told me, “everyone in the school knows you’ve been pounding this due date for three weeks.” The fact that I’ve been in touch with Ms. C over my concerns about this kid for weeks now only bolsters my case.

    I just fired off an email telling Kid not to bother; that from here on out, she needs to make use of her extensive resources (the class website, my near-immediate response to emails, my availability after class, her classmates (one of whom I KNOW she regularly chats with online) and focus on getting her work done completely and on time. Beyond that, I’m done with her.

    I’m not sure WHAT my students think of me, but I am not playing any games with them. Do the work – even if you struggle with it – and I’ll do just about anything to help you succeed; blow me off, and you’re on your own. I have a bumper sticker magnetized to my desk that perhaps I ought to display more prominently. It says “Do NOT start with me; you WILL NOT win.”

  3. Speaking from past experiences, nice job drawing the limits; I once allowed students to get by with BS excuses such as the ones submitted above; I did nothing but cheat them and create more work for me.

  4. That’s what I find, too, Eddie. CHS is in the midst of a perception overhaul, both in the public eye and the internal culture. We’re reworking the admission standards and really focusing on the “college preparatory” aspect of our charter. The kid in story #1 has already failed out of CHS once (“WHO let her back IN?!” were my exact words on hearing THAT little tidbit). Guess what? She’s going two for two.

  5. You make my own blog post today even more relevant. Thank you.

  6. Rowan

    I do appreciate your blog. It helps me realize I am not alone…these things actually do happen to people other than me and it’s not our teaching!
    Nice job making the limits clear.
    I am using your chapter paper but have modified it to go by section (some can’t manage a complete section much less a chapter!). When I asked for an evaluation most liked it…said it helped them learn, they knew exactly what to do, etc. Those that didn’t are in the same league as your 3 week absent student. Work? What’s that?

  7. twoblueday

    I wonder, with these children, how much they’ve been compelled to toe the mark at home.

    Perhaps there’s a reason so many jobs in this country require little or no ability to think, and little or no actual interest/capability in doing anything. Perhaps the government and big business didn’t send the good jobs away. Perhaps the workers did it.

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