I’ve got this kid who’s taken a vow of silence.
It seems that she’s decided she needs to ‘find herself” or some such and, in pursuit of that goal, has decided she’s not going to speak (at least, not in class; I have no idea whether or not her voice works during lunch or after school).
My classes are heavy on the participation; the way I assess whether or not kids are getting what we’re doing is in large part through the things that they say during class conversations. That she’s decided not to speak in class is going to make that work much harder (add to that the fact that she’s not actually done anything in class yet – I’m pretty sure her grade is in the low single numbers) and you can see how this is working out all the way around.
She wrote to me this to me this afternoon:
is there any particular format you want the questions for the questions due monday in?
and also, is there any way i can get around not talking in class, but still getting participation points? it would be very much appreciated.
What I wanted to reply was “Huh?” I decided that the first order of business tomorrow will be email etiquette. What I actually wrote back was:
I’m not looking for you to answer the questions one at a time; I gave you those questions more as a launching point for your own thinking. Compose an essay (to the best of your ability – we’ll be going over the writing process again this week) in which you address as many of the issues I brought up as you can.
As far as the vow of silence goes, I’m pretty conflicted about that. The way I gauge students’ understanding of the material we’re working with is through class conversations; if you’re unwilling to participate in those discussions, your grade will suffer (and, can we be honest? You’ve thus far been unwilling to participate in any meaningful way as it is). I am entertaining the idea of having you write every night to analyze our class discussions, but you’ve not handed in the writing assignments I’ve given up to now, so giving you MORE writing you won’t do seems a waste of both our time. Let’s agree to get together with Ms. Guidance and Ms. Director tomorrow to see if we can work something out that meets both our needs.
I mean it; I can’t make this shit up…