Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hurry, End of the Semester, Hurry!

This is the time of year that many teachers begin to wonder whether or not they chose the correct profession.
For some reason this semester especially we've had an abundance of undisciplined students.  I believe my success as well as my retention percentages in some of my classes will be lower than they have ever been.  I'm not a hard grader; I promise.  It's just that the students are not turning in anything to grade...they're not coming to class either...and they have an abundance of excuses to justify their irresponsibility. 0's don't average very well.

I'm done.

I used to think it was my responsibility to reach all my students...if I didn't reach even one, somehow I had failed.  I've changed my mind this semester.  At some point students have to learn to do their part...at least meet me half way (get to class and attempt their assignments) so that I have a place to reach.

I'm not giving up; I'm just switching my gears...no more bending over backwards and begging students to do their work...no more 16 chances to turn work in and improve grades...
I'm going to start applying some tough love and see if I can get their attention.

After the events of this past week, I feel like telling them all the story of Peter and the Wolf.
If you run around whining all the time about how hard you have it, about how the world ought to bend to your needs, about how unfair life is...

you may just find out exactly how unfair life is.

Time to put the big boy and big girl britches on.

The End.


  1. I'm so sorry for your difficult semester. I can't even imagine how frustrating it is to have students who don't even make the slightest effort especially when they're paying to attend school. My fingers are crossed next semester brings classrooms full of dedicated, inquisitive students eager to do well.

  2. That's the spirit! Lay down some law! There comes a point, when you're in the real world, that people aren't going to give you 16 chances to get your work done. They are just going to show you the door. Way to go lady!

  3. I'm so with you. I'm not a teacher, but I do work at a university that teaches strictly graduate students. You'd think by this point they'd have some semblance of personal responsibility, but no. It's frustrating because you don't want to punish/fail them, but it's as if they're begging for it sometimes. Good luck with everything. Hopefully next semester will be better!

  4. Amen!!!! I also teach at a community college and my gen ed class (which is to aid in college success) has really been horrible this semester. I have maybe a handful of students out of the 18 still registered that are going to get a good grade. This class, in particular, grades on a did you do the work or not basis. There are also points for attendance. The State of Kentucky has made this class mandatory (GEN 102 Foundations of Learning) to help with retention and college success. Not sure if it is working or not. Still, many are going to end up either barely passing or failing the course. I even had peer mentors this semester to aid in retention in this class. My psychology classes are much better, especially the online one I taught. Those students are much more motivated. Not sure why but they have all reviewed positive about the online course, turned in work and mostly it was good work. Sorry for your experience this semester. Maybe summer and fall will be better. I certainly hope so!!

  5. I think it is wonderful that you are putting your foot down. I think tough love is both the answer and it is life. It is so much easier to teach kids lessons in a controlled environment than for them to learn them in the "real-world" where they are more costly. Good for you :)

    Oh and I understand that it is that time of year, but hopefully it will be over soon.

  6. I love this post. I am a fairly "easy-going" teacher in that I want my students to do well and take late work, etc, etc. But I have been so incredibly frustrating that I started to crack down on them yesterday and continued today. I have one student who missed the day of a quiz. She's done this in the past and this time, I refuse to "beg" her to take it. It has been a week and a half with no effort on her part and two reminders from me. She can take the zero.

    At some point, they HAVE to take responsibility. Of course I don't want them to fail, but they need to show me they WANT to do well and put in a little effort!

  7. Bravo! I feel exactly the same. We've just had a break and our term is starting again, but after years of feeling that I had to personally ensure each student fulfilled their potential, I am MUCH more laid-back and determined that they should do the heavy lifting. I'll encourage and support, but the rest of the responsibility is up to them.

  8. You go girl! As a parent, I watch my son get more and more lazy with one particular class because it doesn't matter when he turns in his work.. he gets full credit. It also chaps me when he turns in his work on time (almost always) and someone is a week late and gets full credit.
    I respect the teachers that are teaching him responsibility, even if he doesn't appreciate it.
    Get 'em!