Conference Day was a bit of an ordeal. As I thought, there were excuses galore, and about half of my students rose to the occasion. To me, the sheer neglect and lack of work ethic some of the kids bring is astounding. abotu two-thirds of my students will be failing as of mid-quarter. But on the bright side, my grades are fully updated, so no all-night grading session will be necessary. I even gave students until this past Monday to fix and resubmit work, but only after school. I told them, hell, even if you hadn’t done anything all quarter, you could just grab a copy of every worksheet, take a couple hours of the weekend, and knock every bit of it out. And still, many of the students let the deadline blow by without any apparent fight. The second Conference Day will be Monday. We’ll see how it goes.
I’m starting to notice my students coalescing into new groupings. About 40% of my students have stepped up to the plate and really seem encouraged by the pace I’m trying to set. Interestingly enough, this group is composed of people who fall all along the spectrum of talent. Probably about 20% of my students have extremely poor attendance or have been suspended a significant amount of time, and therefore have little chance of passing. But what is really vexing me is the 40% of my students who are there most days and think that just showing up will be enough to pass, let alone go on to make something of themselves. I’m trying to tell them on a daily basis that just showing up is not nearly enough. It’s so frustrating because I’ve seen the transcripts, and frankly, many of our students have already put themselves in a really rough spot and no longer have any margin for error. It’s like trying to convince people that the building they’re in is burning down, but most of them just won’t believe it until it’s too late.
Today was frustrating, because every one of my four classes was completely out of hand. One of the most irritating things about my job on a daily basis is that a large number of my students seem to think it’s okay to engage in conversation while I’m trying to teach, as though what I’m saying isn’t important and the rules don’t apply to them. Not to mention how disrespectful it is. I can’t even begin to describe what my day looked like in detail. In fact, I probably don’t even remember anymore. I’ve learned to forget at the end of the day, probably as some sort of coping mechanism. Suffice it to say that it was awful. It felt like last semester all over again, and looking back, if I had weeks in a row worth of days just like today, no wonder I was so depressed.
It just burns, because I hoped my students and I had turned a corner as a group where we could start relating on a more adult level. But apparently, it’s just the new semester honeymoon, coming to an abrupt end. Still, I’m going hope that today was just a temporary setback and keep fighting to keep the little ember of motivation and relative propriety of behavior alive for as long as I can.