Monday, June 12, 2006

2 down, 3 to go

I graded projects all weekend. Blah.

But with Finals Week in full swing, I can safely say that the really hard part is now finished. All of my finals are made up, all the grades are imputed, and everyone as a good idea of where they stand. Now it is a matter of slamming in the test grades and saying a few last words to the kiddies as they head off into the "real world".
Not a whole lot has happened lately that is unusual. At our school, Final's Week is more of relaxed week for most classes, which totally ignores the point of the week, which is to give a final. I don't know about you, but my finals week in college always had finals, and they were totally stressful. I have plenty of students who had a final at the beginning of last week, and have managed an early vacation since. Wow, doing these students a lot of good, aren't we. So my finals are this week, which leaves me with lots of house cleaning to do. I clean up my classroom and prepare the most important items for the trip to my garage, since summer school is in my classroom. I'm taking the usual electronic items (computer, T.V., DVD), book books, sentimental stuff, and my International Studies supplies (gotta get ready for next year!). I also need to clear off the shelves, take down a little student work, and do the general end of the year check-out with admin.
Currently, my only serious issues are dealing with students with IEP's, which is a problem that I have addressed in the past. Once again we are dealing with the idea that missing school is acceptable if it is excused, that an IEP allows for make-up work to be turned in at any time, and that working hard is 'good enough'. My hope is that the student does the current required work, passes the class, and this issue goes away.
However, the issue of 'the work is enough' has come up many times this year. I recently read an article in Newsweek about "15 Ideas to Recharge America". One of the authors, Esther Dyson, stated that one thing we could do is to place the emphasis on not only hard work, but actual functionality. She is calling for a change in the culture of the country, something that is starting to come out in the mainstream press as a necessity if we are going to remain at the top of the economic game in 50 years. No, we are not talking about a change in the political culture, though that may be a part of it. We are talking about a focus on putting more responsibility on parents to raise their kids. Parents should realize that hard work and having high standards are important, and not leave it entirely up to the schools.
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