Conferences

We have them tonight. It’s the fourth and final time for the year. I told each of my classes that they’d earn extra credit if they or their parents (or both) attend.

Last quarter I spoke w/ parents/guardians about SIX of my students. SIX out of SEVENTY or so (I can’t remember right now how big each class was). Awesome, eh?

The parent apathy or disconnectedness in my district just hurts my heart sometimes. I know that some of them can’t come b/c they’re at work. But the parents who have absolutely no idea what their child is doing, particularly when it comes to school, just kill me! Their apathy leads to their child’s apathy. A vicious cycle, which is why I have a TON of students with no research papers. Still.

Today my credit recovery students are wiggin’ me. Some of them work really well as independent students. Well, ok, about 2 of the 10 (2 dropped my class). One of them skipped the last half of class. He purposefully did NOT return after class. *frustrated sigh* I am at my wits’ and patience’ end with him — I do NOT know what to do. Thankfully, I’ve had the presence of mind to be on the ball w/ keeping his counselor and administrator updated with his classroom behavior, etc. Counselor actually emailed me today and said there may not be anything else I can do.

That’s one of the things that’s been hard for me as a teacher. See, as a student, I was conscientious about my homework. I may have procrastinated the hell out of it, but I did it. Or, when it came to books (*ahem* my junior year), I may not have read the whole thing, but the way I saw it, I was doing well enough on the quizzes and tests that it didn’t matter. As long as I kept up my A’s in my classes, I kept going with the flow that I had. Deadlines that were set out for me (like with our sophomore research paper), I may have completed the night before, but I made sure I was always working during class time. I remember long nights of tv watching in high school. Or, talking on the phone with friends. About midway through 10th grade math class got REALLY difficult for me, so that was the homework I focused on at home. AND, I would get help in the mornings from my teacher. That was me, as a student. I did what I needed to, to keep my grades up (in the case of math, “up” was a C).

My students on the other hand — many of them don’t work in class, they prefer to talk and for SURE don’t work at home. I can tell b/c when I look at their rough drafts, I see they’re on the same place from one day to the next, meaning they didn’t work on it at home. Now, if you’re a whizz and writing, AND a super-fast typer, that kind of work practice won’t be an issue. However, if you KNOW you struggle to write, then don’t you think you would take that into account, and take work home for the evening?

SERIOUSLY!

I’m not as frustrated today as I was yesterday. I realize I just need to let go and let them fail. I can’t do the work for them, and I can’t force motivation on them. I can do my best to inspire and perhaps instill the fear of god (aka failure) in them, but sometimes even that doesn’t work.

So, while my students and parents, and other students and parents are milling around our gymnasium tonight, I’ll be reading/marking the rough drafts I do have. And, preparing a revision test for those people who will never get papers to me.


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Filed under frustrations, letting go, research paper

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