Friday, August 24, 2007

And sometimes, I have bad days

I have a million things to post about right now, but I want to clear my head first before I smack somebody. I almost beat the crap out of a jackass I already can't stand when he tried to walk in on me in the bathroom without knocking.

This morning I gave my final exam. For the past two days I've been showing The Outsiders to my first period, Contemporary Composition. Their final exam was to write an essay explaining what Johnny means when he tells Pony Boy to "stay gold". That's it. Easiest. Assignment. Ever. I didn't even make them read anything.

I had three students decide not to turn anything in. They've been passing the class but they decided to read the paper instead of writing this essay because they don't feel like writing today.

Let me back up.

I have 27 students on my roster. School starts at 7:25. I get here at 7 a.m. On any given morning I have between two to five students in my room. By 8 a.m. I usually have 10 students who filter in one at a time, causing me to have to repeat myself every single time another one appears until my brain explodes and I start punching the white board with my forehead. About 8:30 I might have 15 kids.

I have tried every conceivable trick in the book to get them to come to class on time. Pop quizzes, lectures, extra writing assignments, stabbing, the works.

When they do arrive they stare at me and wait for me to tell them what to think like teenage zombies. That's why I haven't been able to do anything creative all semester. It's been one boring assignment after the other as I've had to focus on essays only because the kids don't care enough to think for themselves and that makes teaching anything take twice as long.

They always want to know why they can't do fun stuff like second period. I tell them, get to class on time and do some work like second period and you will do fun stuff. But that takes work and work is for losers, evidently. Losers who will be getting high school diplomas.

Tuesday is the last day of class. I would it were tomorrow.

On the upside, today is the senior luau. I expect to get thrown in the pool at some point this evening. It's tradition.


  1. I am confused -- this is summer school, and I'd imagine that most (all?) of these summer school students need your class to make up for work not completed (or not mastered) in the regular school year, yet there is no penalty for refusing to do th ework, for refusing even to show up?

    And still they get the benefits and reward of a graduation?

    Uh... I know I'm late to the party and seldom pay anything like sufficient attention when other people are talking, but isn;t there something just a tiny bit WRONG here?

  2. It's not summer school. It's year round school and I'm on track.

    Year round school sucks.

    If they don't pass they don't graduate. We have no summer school but we do have Intersession, when they come off track to make up failed classes, but they can only make up one each session. Many of them just accept the failure and show up for Intersession instead of having a vacation.

    Believe me, you're not the only one confused.

  3. Poor Emily! Have you ever considered teaching English in college? Either in a university or community college. The students are much more motivated, generally, and you can be pretty damn creative with your assignments. With your experience you'd have no trouble getting a job, especially since colleges are so desperate for adjunct professors. Just a thought. Good luck! :) And great blog!

    Or say screw it and get a city job. Way less exhausting and all those holidays off! :)

  4. I taught a couple of intro classes when I was in grad school. That's actually what motivated me to become a teacher. But believe it or not, public school pays better and has better benefits unless I start publishing.

    And I do have good days. This just wasn't one of them.


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