I Crack the Whip

It's the last quarter of school, and most people are winding down. Not me, though, because I'm mean like that.

My freshmen classes are totally self-paced; I tell them at the beginning of the quarter what they need to do in order to make a grade (they have to complete more activities for an A than for a B, etc.) and set them to it. The new curriculum is centered around reading comprehension, so I correct a lot of tests and listen to them read and help them with writing assignments. Frankly, it is a relief to have this new curriculum, because in years past, there was NO curriculum, and I had to make it up on my own. That was a lot of work, and do you think those kids appreciated all my effort?

I ramped up my grade expectations for this nine weeks, because the students are familiar with it now and they're not trying to get into the routine of completing the activities anymore. I also introduced some new elements, so they have even more choices than they did before but, once again, they were decidedly unimpressed with my hard work. They are just little blessings, every single one of them.

My third period class of COURSE was very vocal ("WHAT?!?! We have to do ALL THAT? It's the last nine weeks, Ms. Flower; you're supposed to go easy on us!"), but I shut them all down pretty quickly: "You need to get started if you're going to finish all that work; I believe the technical term for the amount you have to do is 'buttload.'"

And--MIRACLE!--they buckled right down and worked nonstop for the whole period. And they were actually working, not sleeping upright with their pencils in hand so as to give the illusion of working. Of course, I DID have to explain the new stuff one BILLION times, but after that they were fine.

I had a little tear in my eye when I looked around and saw their industrious little selves. It made me feel like a real teacher.

1 comment:

dizzytaylor said...

You go, Mei! Yeah, we're so mean. We expect the students to actually focus on the printed word, pick up a pencil and write their thoughts on a piece of paper and hand it in for review.
We're supposed to have a budget as large as MTV, as well as endless, fun resources at our disposal so every moment in the class room is as exciting as a national media event. Yeah, right.
If that's the case, then where's the budget to produce these things the kids whine about? We don't even have rubber bands for classroom use!! Our schools are crumbling and we're supposed to make sure the kids never experience a "boring" moment?


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