Friday, March 25, 2011

The Breaks

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Instead of the National Anthem, Rebecca Black’s “Friday” came blaring through the second period loudspeakers.  I’m not being sarcastic when I say that it was the near perfect end to a rather rough week.  Lots of kids were here today and we all had a good laugh at expense of the viral phenomenon.

Three things happened this week that made it rough, but the real problem is that the three things hardly involved the majority of students. 

1.  It rained this week; a whole lot.  In fact, it hasn’t rained this much since the nasty surprise I came home to in December 2005.  While my house is just fine, my classroom (the one that is two years old) has a leak.  No, not a small leak, a serious leak that required the removal of tiles and created a nice steady flow of water towards four trash cans that surrounded the puddles on the floor of my classroom.  The students took it all in good stride and I declined moving across campus due to the technology available in my classroom.  Hell, we would have been twice as week moving anyway.  So as I’m about to leave for break I have a whole in my ceiling and water marks on four other ceiling tiles.  Sue the roofers.

2.  Report cards came out and along with it came minor meltdowns from students that realized that they missed weeks of instruction and don’t know shit.  I’m not totally loving when students ask for extra credit, especially when information has always been available for their consumption.  These are students with expectations of handouts, and I’m not in the business of giving anyone anything except the means for them to achieve their own success.  Having a student go livid on you right before class is not fun, and the attitude adjustment one has to make before the next 35 come in is essential for that next class to flow.  I pulled it off.

3.  More students than ever have now transferred to Independent Study, even this late in the year.  I’ve investigated all the reasons and some might even be considered legitimate.  But we need to ask ourselves if students, and I’m talking 18 year old students, are being taught the right lesson that if adversity hits one part of their life, everything else should be dropped for months.  This year has seen it’s fair share of physical and emotional trauma outside of the classroom, and I don’t assume to be able to judge the scale of people’s feelings, but life does demand that you persevere and grow from adversity.  College and the real world doesn’t mind giving you an occasional moment when things get real rough, but this idea that you can simply drop out of reality for months on end is an entitled attitude that does not fit in the scope of reality.

My energy for the week has been on these issues, which probably only constitutes 15% of the total population of my classes, and one classroom ceiling.  That is a clear sign that I need a week to clear my head and prep my focus for those that are ready for the home stretch.

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