April 30, 2009

That's Gonna Hurt Later

It's been utter chaos in my neck of the woods. The foreign language classes are finishing their travel movies, which are 15-20 minute imovies based on an imaginary trip to a country that speaks the language they are learning.

As an extension, in my class the same students are creating public service announcements on some type issue in the that country. I'm not half as crazy as the foreign language teachers; my assignment is a 30-60 second imovie.

In both classes, students have had check points along the way, yet there are so many who have procrastinated, thus causing near hysteria and complete pandemonium. On the day the travel video was due, students were still needing to do voice-overs. It's quite laughable. Do you know how long it takes to convert a 15 minute movie to Quicktime? They didn't have time to do voice-overs (which requires a quiet place and should have been completed at home) and convert it in a class period.

Actually, all of the pandemonium has been across the hall. Their project was due yesterday. Part of the hysteria has been by the teachers when they only received half of the projects. It was ugly. It was assigned 4 weeks ago, and except for the week we were on spring break, students have had time to do it in class. So just imagine two irate teachers whose students have appeared to have been working ever so diligently yet have virtually nothing to turn in. Ouch.

My little contribution is due tomorrow. We haven't been working on it as long, and I anticipate I'll have some students who won't have it finished. (Wide-spread apathy has been a problem.) Their preliminary research was due last Thursday. Project proposals were due the same day. Storyboards were due Tuesday. I set up a situation that walked them through it step by step--and those weren't all the steps.

Today, I had a student Googling problems in his country. "What are some other words to use besides 'problem' or 'issue'?"

I just looked at him and said, "Yeah, those are about it," and then I walked away.

I would have been willing to help him form search queries nine days ago. I know I've walked by his desk several times, as it is near my desk, and he appeared to be on task. I guess he must have been working on the video for his other class. Only, I happen to know what he submitted to that class, so I guess he must have just been sitting there with the application open.

Oh, and he's probably one of those masters of closing windows when the teacher walks by. Whatever. Most of the kids are. If they goof off too much it bites them in the butt eventually.

For some of these students that bite's going to hurt. I've warned them that they will not be able to turn in their movies late. Laptop collection begins Monday. They won't have the opportunity to use the desktops in my classroom to make it up, either. That would mean they'd need to stay after school. I'm not staying after school.

I had two work sessions after school this week for students who needed time or help. Nobody came the first day. Twelve students came today. See? I will stay after school for students. On my terms.

In their foreign language classes the bite in the butt might hurt a lot longer. They are taking the class for high school credit. Some of them don't seem to understand how important it is now, although we teachers talk about it all the time, but when they are juniors and seniors, wishing they'd had a better start to their high school GPAs, some of them will be feeling it.

1 comment:

David said...

Wow, first to comment, almost three years after. Guess you were not expecting to influence people in 2012... I wish I had read this 15 years ago.

Empathy is hard to practice, but you certainly managed to convey a little of what it is to be in your shoes.