Monday, December 05, 2005

A Very MEAN Teacher

I was a mean teacher today. And you know what? It felt good. Not just good but GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD! Let me explain.

I teach SDC, which means I have to be fairly flexible in my grading and grade on what I think kids can do, not necessarily the exact right answers all the time. But lately, a few of my seventh graders have begun to suffer from the "whatevers." Oh, how I hate the "whatevers."

I gave a science test on Friday and today my wonderful, brave, valiant teaching associate graded them. She cleared her throat and said to me, "You probably want to look at these."

Oh, the trepidation.

They all failed. Not by a little either. It was a spectacular, mass, "lemmings of the cliff" sort of failure. I feel myself turning green and stretching my clothes as we speak.

We read the chapter together. They do numerous vocabulary exercises. I even pulled several dichotomous key worksheets off the internet and did them as a group in an effort to help them understand classification. Thank you, We classified shoes, wacky people and norns. They get to use all materials, including the book, to help them with the test. It is as easy as I can possibly make it. And still, they failed.

So I, being merciful and kind of heart, gave them the class period today to correct the quizzes. Two of students spent 3 minutes on their tests and then asked if they could draw. DRAW? Excuse me? I asked if they had finished correcting their tests. They said "yeah, we turned them in."

It is here that I morphed into VERY SCARY TEACHER. Seriously, I could have scared Viola Swamp.

"I just want you all to understand that you all FAILED this test. This is the only time you will have to improve your grades on this test and if you choose not to use that time, I give up. I cannot make you want to succeed or value an education. That is your parents job. If failing is okay with you, I will fail you. "

I wasn't screaming, but I wasn't talking calmly either. Some part of me takes it personally, I guess. I put a lot of effort into their success and I want them to care. I invest in them. I work to give them a feeling of ownership in their education. Ironic that behavior issues don't phase me a bit, but this drives me to the bad "Hulky" place. Hhmmmnngghh. That was my Hulk imitation. Whatever.


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