I think I’ve finally got my head back on straight–for the time being, at least. I’m going to be here one more semester, and I’m going to try to make these kids learn something. This time, the strategy is simple. The kids must learn by working. I’m tired of designing gimmicks, and I’m tired of hearing excuses. We’re going to grind out this work. I’ve started out of the semester by working on how I break down concepts, to make sure that my logic is sound. And every few minutes, I reemphasize the need for everyone to listen to what I’m saying. We don’t have time for the side conversations and the childish behavior. I’m trying to nip all signs of negativity in the bud.
My class motto is “Don’t leave class today without understanding”. They can’t go another semester of covering just two chapters. I can’t go another semester of covering just two chapters. By the end of the quarter, I felt like a little piece of my soul was dying every day that we repeated the same elementary crap over, and over, and over, again. That was BS, and it pisses me off just thinking about it. We have to move faster, and I’m messaging that to the kids constantly. I need them to develop a sense of urgency.
As of Day 3, it’s working out well. I’ve got most of my students factoring monomials, a skill that requires or leads to a thorough understanding of some pretty fundamental concepts. I’ve managed to get a several kids who are used to not participating on-board and doing work. The only problem is that our attendance has been abysmal, so I have to find a way to get the kids who have missed this info caught up, and that is a shame, because I’m teaching as hard as I can, and they’re missing the show.
Kids always start semesters off strong, and teachers usually have a little extra pep, too. I don’t know how I’m going to sustain my level of effort, or if it’s even possible. But maybe, just maybe, if we can pick up some momentum now, it will carry us somewhere before it runs out.