Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Home Stretch

We're in the home stretch of the school year. In a calendar month, school will be out for the summer. I'll still be working with different professional developments and possible summer school, but my students will be finished.

And you can feel it.

Students that have As are starting to ask what the impact of not doing one assignment will be. "Will I still have an A if I don't do work today?" No, I tell them. I'll make it worth a bajillion trillion points. This usually gets a chuckle and they reluctantly do their work. As my student aide pointed out "Not even seniors and they already have senioritis!" Boy, do they.

There's another way you can tell school is winding down. Suddenly, it's time to work for kids who have been slacking off. A handful of students who have failing grades are suddenly alert and trying to do all the work they can to try to pass. It's usually never too late to pass in my class. Usually. The requests for extra credit and make up work will soon begin. This is always a hard part of teaching. I try to stress to these students that they wouldn't have so much work to do now if they'd done work all along. Some are rightly embarrassed by their position in my class. Others seem to think it's my job to make them pass.

My job is teaching. And frankly, I can only care about a student's grade as much as the student cares. I can't care enough for the both of us. I will do as much as I can to get a student to pass my class, but I still have to be fair. Asking a student to prove they can do a skill is fine by me. Giving students gimme assignments to make up for the real thing isn't fair to my other students, or to the kid trying to pass. You take the class to learn new skills and you take the assessments to prove you have masters those skills.

Hopefully I won't have any more students jumping on the slacker train as the year continues to wind down.

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