Friday, November 08, 2013

Yay! End of the Six Weeks ... And We Know What That Means.

The joys of students scrambling to take care of business on the LAST minute of the LAST day of the LAST week of the grading term. What's that? You say ... why didn't they do things the other 4 to 5 weeks? Good Question.

I just had a math student literally wait until AFTER the last minute to try to turn things in. For any other student who I'd seen trying throughout the grading period, YES I would have accepted the work. For this student who has not turned in 7 of 10 homework assignments and has come in maybe 10% of the available time for help? Not so much.

Yes, I know it's for the student's own good. Yes, I know that they won't step it up until they don't get any free rides any more. But yes I also know that it scrambles up my insides and I'm having angry conversations with the kid in my mind.

To maybe detox, I just sent this e-mail to her and cc-ed the counselor and her mom. I am crossing my fingers that she figures things out.

Dear You,
I'm concerned about your work ethic this year in math. As it stands, there have been 10 homework assignments on the grade book. I see that you have not turned in 7 of them. That is part of the reason you are failing, but it is not the whole picture. Because you do not do the homework, you then do poorly on the Section Quizzes (based on homework). It also seems that you don't do the rote memorization skills necessary for the IR quizzes.

There have been 5 weeks of time for you to come in and reconcile your misunderstandings. I have barely seen you for tutoring. I am available every morning from 7am until 9:15. I am in my room at lunch every day. I am there after school M-Th. You have come in for a scattered amount of tutoring, but not enough to take care of business. I frequently see you in the halls talking with friends, and I have to bite my tongue when I want to ask you why you are not doing make up work. Yes, friends and socializing ARE important, and they are a vital part of life. However, there has to be a balance of taking care of business, and enjoying your free time.

In advisory, which is a prime time to seek help ... a FREE 30 minutes at least 3 times a week in MY advisory, with me willing to answer your questions, you have not been doing any calculus work.
It worries me that you scramble at the last minute and try to turn in extremely late work, and it is still not on time, and yet you say that it is.
More importantly, I see you being exposed to challenging work and then not stepping up to the plate. You say you don't want to turn in the homework because you don't understand it. Great. And yet I do not see you taking the necessary steps to make progress. I do not see you putting in the brain work and the hard work and the thinking work to make it happen.
I'm wondering how you are watching the flipped videos. Are you just going through the motions when you do watch them, or are you taking the required (at least) 40 minutes of time to absorb and think?

I have been filling out college recommendations this year for seniors, and these are some of the questions asked by the colleges (i.e. things they want to see in prospective students):
* How does this student behave when faced with challenges?
* How does this student react when confronted by setbacks?
* What are this student's "disciplined habits"?
* How is this student's initiative?
This is the 3rd math class I have had you in. I know you have a very capable brain. I am wondering if you will rise to the work necessary to comprehend topics that don't come easily to you.

I care about you and your school experience, and I hope you don't squander it away because it requires work you are not willing to do.
Ms. D

1 comment:

  1. I'm interested to know how this worked out. What type of response did you get?

    Also, I am surprised by how much of your time you make available for extra help. Do you have students come to see you before school, during lunch, and after school? I've had some success this year implementing "office hours" where I set aside a morning and an afternoon a week to provide help. I think it is working because it give my students a specific time that they can plan on coming to see me... if I make myself too available I find some of my 8th graders thinking, "oh, I'll just go tomorrow" and putting it off.