Friday, May 06, 2005

So endith the first week of STAR testing.

I haven't heard many complaints from teachers about the testing this week, except from the teachers that have been assigned as our subs during the testing period. Some are complaining that they have other things to prepare for. Sure, as if we don't! Otherwise, I haven't heard much complaining, except for my Seniors.
The last two days went fairly well. Yesterday was a very draggy day that included a labor/management negotiation with my College Prep classes, and profit calculations with my Intro classes. Everyone was out of it, including yours truly. It was one of those days were the entire world was in some kind of haze that we couldn't shake.
Today was much better and I felt more motivated. The students were very engaged and got a tremendous amount of work done. Only two problems arose:
1) Today students began work on the final portion of a stock project. Stocks are one of the first things we learned about this semester. They were supposed to be tracking them and preparing a final report. Today, two students asked the question, "How many shares were we supposed to buy in the Dow Jones Industrial Average?". If you don't know, you don't buy shares in the DJIA. It's a barometer of the overall New York Stock Exchange using 30 companies that represent various sectors of business. It is basic information that students should know. At the very least, I bristled at the question. I reprimanded this girl for not keeping track (rather harshly) and commented to the class that knowing what the DJIA was could be on the Final. It wasn't the most mature way of going about things (it embarrassed her a little), but I was frustrated that she hadn't paid enough attention.
2) Remember Bill? Well he came up to me with the same complaint about his grade, that he has never had a C or a D in his life (he currently has a D+). With this argument came more information. I finally found out that during this time he was gone, Bill was on a college swing throughout the Mid-West. I asked him why he didn't do an independent study contract and he stated that he didn't want to work while he was gone. Now he was offered a $15,000 scholarship if he gets good grades during this semester. The problem? Bill is not an A student, a B student, or even a very average student. Is he smart? Yes. Could he be an A student? Yes. Has he earned an A in my Economics class? Not even close. So Bill is back to threatening meetings with Dad and his counselor. I'm willing to sit and listen, but this is an instance where the student has dug his hole and tried to weasel out of it every which way. In the end, Bill will either finish my class or transfer for the last 25 days, which will not look good for the teacher that will take him. Stay tuned.

The second week of STAR testing is fast approaching. This week will consist of block schedules and hurt feelings when I hold students accountable for showing up to class. At the end of this coming week, students that have fulfilled the obligation of being in class on time, every day, will receive a nice treat. The rest will have to learn the lesson the hard way. But first, Saturday will consist of packing, with an interlude to attend a Ukiah High School lacrosse meet. I have been promising a couple of guys that I would attend and I need to watch the warriors in combat on the field.

Go Wildcats!
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