Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seniors, Workload, Responsibility

I'm mulling over recent events and trying to decide how to handle this next year if it comes up again. 

Background story. At our school, we do push the students to take full course loads every year. They get a little slack their senior year and maybe can have a flex period or such. But since our intention is to get them to college and to succeed in college and to look good on college applications, we push. Also, in Texas, our students basically have enough credits to graduate their junior year ... give or take some requirements. So basically they're hard workers.

The flip side of this is that depending on what courses the students take their senior year, and how they approach their scholarship applications and college applications, and what sports they play, and how far their daily commute is, the amount of time they have for homework and sleep and life fluctuates. Needless to say, there are stressed out little bundles of walking sleepless zombies.

Okay, back to me, which, of course it's TOTALLY about. I have (had) 3 seniors in Computer Science 1 along with juniors. So far this past week or so, 2 have stressed out and decided they needed the time during the school day to do their homework, so they dropped out of CS1. I didn't complain too much, just gave them the stink eye, but I go back and forth as to what's best for the student, and how I want to handle this in the future.

One part of me thinks, "you signed for a class ... or you made a commitment to something (anything in general), then you should follow through even if it gets tough. This is what defines your character."

Another part of me thinks, "there are times when you have to cut your losses and maybe decisions you made are not the best."

A third part of me thinks, "I don't want this to be a precedent. Kids will then just sign up willy nilly to look good on their college applications, and then drop the ball when things pile up too much."

A fourth part of me thinks, "if students get in the habit of quitting things when they get too hard, then they are teaching themselves the wrong lessons and are not letting themselves get the satisfaction of knowing they can do things or figure things out when things don't go so easily."

Oy! I have some ideas on how to broach this next year, but I can still stew about this year.


  1. Anonymous5:10 AM

    As an admissions reader for a well known caliber university we look for language to year 4, bio, chem, physics, and calc for our top of the line picks. That doesn't suit everybody, but the kids should be pushed by counselors to take the most challenging course load that they can!

  2. Thank you! I have heard that from another source, so it's nice that it's confirmed and isn't just a one-off.