November 30, 2010

School's Not a Buffet

Hitting the ground running today so I can save my students from themselves. I hate that duty.

When I was out of the classroom 1 1/2 weeks ago (seems so long ago), I gave some assessments. One was a chart for students to map out some cause and effects of the novel. The other was an essay relating their own lives to the essential question of the unit. Each one was given in one day and was to be collected the same day. The sub knew this, and the writing assignment even stated that it was due at the end of class. Imagine my shock when I found that some students didn't turn it in. Thus, these students have Fs on assessments. No big deal? Assessments account for 50% of their grades.

I think the sub factor played a part in this crisis, but I'm mostly blaming the students. When the sub asked for papers to be passed forward, why did they think they had the option to not follow instructions? It could have easily happened with me standing at the front of the room, collecting their work just before the bell because I wanted to give them as much time as possible.

I'm calling this the buffet mentality that my students have:

I'll do this work but not that work.
That looks yucky, so I think I'll skip it.
I took bite, but I'm just going to throw the rest away.
That work is good. Can I have extra?

Oh, and because I found two charts with the exact same answers, let me add:

Can I have some of yours?

I should just say, "Your parents are paying the same price no matter how much you 'eat.'"

I can already anticipate those who threw theirs away are going to be hungry now that the meal is over. The parents will probably wonder why their kids didn't get enough. My administrator will probably wonder how they could walk in, sit down, not be a happy little consumer. Did I not serve them?

Sure, I served the picky little ones. Apparently I'm not allowed to force-fed them, so what can I do?

Detention. You will sit there until you finish.

(That's a battle of wills to take on, thus a rotten day for me...)


The Vegas Art Guy said...

What I did last year was when a student refused to do an assignment, I had them write a statement saying that on the assignment, had them sign their name and then kept it. I also put a comment in Easy Grade Pro stating that the student refused to do the work and accepts the zero.

Melissa B. said...

My journalistas often have the "buffet mentality." Especially when called upon to revise their stories-if they understand a correction, or it's easy to do, they'll do it. Otherwise, they pretend they didn't see the editor's mark. Frustrating, ain't it?

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Melissa, you nailed it on the head.

Bauer said...

You remind me very much of one of my favorite clients who is a teacher at a high school. She comes into the studio with ridiculous stories about her students and workplace. I'm going to recommend she start reading your blog. I recently wrote a health blog for her about stress and linked it to your site.