Wednesday, May 09, 2007

You learn when you are here

It's that time of year. Projects are due, and that means that notes that you took early on now have double the importantce. Even something as simple as how to make a graph in Word.

Student A: Mr. Brown, can you tell me how to make a graph?

Me: Check your notes.

Student A: I don't have my notes with me.

Me: You didn't take notes.

Student A: Fine. Can you tell me how to make the graph?

Me: This stock report has been going on since March. Once a week we are in the lab graphing and charting stocks. Where have you been?

Student A: Not here much.

Me: Tell me about it.

Student A: Well, I need to know how to make the graph or I can't finish the project.

Me: Yes, you do.

Student A: And you're not going to tell me how to make the graph?

Me: Find the notes.


Me: Then you have a problem.

At this point the student is looking around realizing that I'm not about to let him off the hook. Seriously, I don't get the point of going over things, having students not record the information, and then feeding it to them later as some kind of reward. Eventually the student notices that three or four other students are smirking with the knowledge that they already have in their possession, and then slink over to get a lesson in graphing from another students. It is humility for the laziness, and a wonderful sense of pride for those that have the necessary information.

Seem mean? I think handing out the information to a student that doesn't pay attention or show up is beyond mean, because you are setting that student up for the boss saying "You're fired!" down the road.

You might be thinking, "What happens if the student doesn't try to get help from others?"

If I notice that the student is being ever so obstinate, I give them a final out. The deal is that I'll give them a lesson, but it will be after school. Only one Senior in six years has taken that offer. Some don't figure it out and fail.

I give students the opportunity, they don't always take it.
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