Teenagers suck sometimes.
Here’s the thing; they KNOW what they’re supposed to be doing. If anyone pulled one of our students aside and said “Hey, Kid; how do you format an English paper” or, “Hey, Kid, where do you find out what homework you have in your classes?” every single one of them would be able to spit out the answer without a second’s hesitation.
It is becoming obvious, though, that KNOWING something and DOING something are, for this population, at least, COMPLETELY unrelated.
This morning, my babies were supposed to show up in class with a printed draft of their paper IN THEIR HANDS. I put it on the website, I even wrote it on the board IN ALL CAPS AND IN BRIGHT RED PEN on Friday.
How many of ’em do you think actually had their papers? How many of ’em do you think had their papers, but didn’t print them? How many of ’em looked up in wonder and said, “what papers?!”
Exasperated, I asked them to get a piece of paper and write me a Dear Mrs. Chili letter in which they try to explain to me exactly where the disconnect is between what I’m asking and what they’re doing. I’m meeting them more than halfway, I explained, and I’m not sure what else needs to happen. I got a whole lot of “you could do this” or “you could do that” and not a whole lot of “yeah, I’m totally fucking up here.” Some of them got it, though; here’s my favorite response:
Dear Mrs. Chili:
I am extremely dependent on our website. I love how you post what we need to do in detail so I can refer to the post while I write. Also, having a due date posted keeps me on track. I have a very hard time remembering things as my brain is cluttered with pictures of cute kittens and facts about Star Wars that will get me nowhere in life, so having things posted helps keep me organized.
Maybe if I posted cute kittens and Star Wars pictures, they’d pay more attention?