I sent this to my boss yesterday:
First of all, I’m sorry you’re not well. If there’s anything I can do to help you out, remember that I’m literally right up the street; just call.
I wanted to give you a heads-up on what’s been going on in my classes lately, just so none of it surprises you when (if) it circles around to you.
The elimination of the Pretty Pink Paper Policy is going well on my end, but not so much on the students’. I am still seeing a really astoundingly low number of students actually doing the work – today, for example, I received two assignments from my III/IV class (three if you count Maya’s; she emailed them to me after class. I’ve decided I’ll accept them – I doubt she could have put them together that quickly, so they probably were done ahead of time – but she’s mad at me because I cut her off before she had a chance to tell me her excuse for not having them in class). That’s out of 12 students, and I’m surprised by it, really; I’m not getting work from kids I’d really expect would be the ones to do it.
In terms of homework compliance, the I/II class isn’t doing much better. Further, some of the work that they’re handing in cannot, by any rational standard, be called “work.” Just this week, Jeff decided to answer a complex and in-depth prompt with a barely literate sentence fragment, and both Mike and Peter have handed in either “I didn’t read the chapters, so I can’t answer the questions” papers or blank worksheets; this morning, Peter handed in an essentially untouched apostrophe worksheet with the excuse that “I didn’t get it.” He didn’t make ANY attempt to reach me – no email, no message on the Ning – to get clarification, and he never spoke up when I was giving the apostrophe lesson yesterday in class. I can’t chase them down if I don’t know they’re struggling with the material. I’m not giving credit for work that doesn’t at least show some effort at meeting the requirements for the assignment; they don’t have to hit it out of the park, but they at least have to swing at it.
Peter, Linda, and Damian spent this morning in Mr. W’s room because they hadn’t done the reading for today, either. If it’s all the same to you, I’m going to make it a policy for the rest of the semester (what have we got? Six weeks left?) that kids who haven’t done the reading (and who therefore can’t participate meaningfully in the conversations and activities we’re doing around the reading) will leave the room. I am still pretty good-natured about it, but I’m sick to death of the kids not even bothering to do the barest minimum to get by.
The upshot of all of this is that, at this point in the semester, I don’t think many of these kids have a realistic expectation of passing English. I don’t have my grade book with me as I write this (it’s on the computer I keep at school) but I know that at least five students are failing in the I/II class and I’m pretty sure I’ve got at least three or four in the III/IV class who are averaging failing grades, as well.
I’m not asking you to do anything about any of this, I just want you to know what’s going on. I’m also wondering how this impacts the idea you have of teacher evaluation; how do we assess the work we (try to) do when the kids simply aren’t showing up?
I know this probably hasn’t helped, but I hope you feel better.
Your final question is exactly what I want to look at. I want the teacher evaluations to reflect what CHS teachers are doing and struggling with; I definitely do not want a simple, out of the box, fill in the blank, teacher eval form…. yuck!
I am not sure what to do about the lack of work. It’s everywhere. We have some lazy students and it’s contagious, too. I guess they can go be lazy again at their old school. I am struggling with this one, as well.
The thing about mono that sucks the most for me, besides the awful body aches, is the unbelievable tired feeling. I lie here and think about how good lunch would taste but can’t imagine walking down the stairs and going through the really difficult task of making one…..
I will stay in touch!
I LOVE my boss….