Sunday, May 23, 2010

End of year notes

-Notice that I haven’t been on much.  This has less to do with grading and more to do with all the meetings, e-mails, and phone calls I have to do to deal with the fact that students are not doing a good job holding up their end of the bargain.  All of this technology has made very little difference in the responsibility of the student to pay attention to his/her own grade.  What it has done is bring more work for the teacher to keep the technology updated and relevant, which means it is becoming a waste of time.  The responsible, motivated students use the resources.  Most students don’t.  That means double the work.

-I can tell you why grade inflation occurs.  It occurs because teachers are pushed into doing it.  This year’s Seniors are extremely enabled.  There is a good chance that I won’t be failing anyone this year.  At the college prep level, the reason is because anyone who had a major chance at failing is already gone.  Students that don’t want to deal with school have been sent to Independent Study to finish out their careers doing packet work.  And since the students couldn’t handle getting up in the morning and going to class, better they are “college ready” by having them do crap and graduate.  By the way, many of these students are planning on junior college.  Many won’t be able to handle it. While in the Admin building I told a staff member that it looked like I wasn’t going to have any “F’s” this year.  The staff member said “That’s great!  It looks like you are becoming a really good teacher!”  I almost punched the wall.

-Speaking of grade inflation and enabling, the open Advanced Placement experiment is now officially a pain in the ass.  Student grades have plummeted since college acceptance occurred and now parents want the better grades so they don’t have to worry about little precious getting accepted into a four year university.  The responsibility is now on my head that Johnny has a 64% because Johnny has totally checked out since April.  Now the deal making starts. 

“Ok, so if my child gets a “D” in an AP Gov class, can you just give them “C” credit for a college prep Government class?  Doesn’t it just make sense?  Doesn’t he deserve that?  Why should YOUR class prevent him from getting into college?”

I’ve had a dozen of these conversations.  I’ll end up capitulating on all of them, I can almost guarantee it.  It isn’t about Admin support (I have plenty), it’s about cost/benefit analysis, and that in the end, I’ll probably lose the argument anyway because society doesn’t really want their kids to be held accountable.  So my last week of school, along with potentially days after, is supposed to be filled with pressure from counselors, irate parents, and threats of Superintendent or Board involvement?  For what?  So I can be told at the end “just give them the grade, in the end it really doesn’t matter”.  No thanks.  Guess what college professors, you have the luxury of ignoring parents that bail out children.  We don’t.  Sorry.

-I might be getting my first formal complaint.  A student clearly broke the rules (after breaking them before and being warned), suffered the consequences, and I was told the parent was planning to file a complaint about it.  And you wonder why teachers don’t want to get rid of tenure.

My wife is ten times more nurturing and motherly to her students than I am with mine.  I’m the strict disciplinarian.  We bounce ideas and experiences off each other every day and we make each other better teachers.  Yesterday we were in the car and we both talked about not doing this job anymore.  We both love teaching students and we both love the colleagues we work with.  But we both are getting tired of not being allowed to do our jobs.  Mark down the day.            

blog comments powered by Disqus