“Raise your hand if you studied for this quiz.”
((Chirp, chirp. Do you hear those crickets??))
“I didn’t know you could study for math.”
I asked that question in all three class periods (including honors!) and got the same response. Are you kidding me???????? Wait, really… wait… ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? There are a lot of things that surprise me about these students:
- When they are absent they NEVER ask what they missed (that includes when they’ve missed tests or quizzes)
- Only about half ever complete their homework
- They do not do quiz corrections despite the boost on their quiz grades (half of the points you missed back people!!)
- They blame. (Okay actually, they are teens so that doesn’t surprise me, just annoys me.)
- We offer free after school tutoring (hey, I work there!) and no one comes.
- They don’t study.
The format I used for quiz corrections (see this post) allowed me to see if students studied for the quiz or not. It didn’t surprise me that they didn’t study (they already admitted that) but their anger and frustration with their scores did surprise me. They do not see the correlation between studying, homework, paying attention/participation and getting the grade (or rather understanding). I hope that asking (and answering) questions like that will help them see the relationship between effort and scores. However there were some students who did study and did not perform well and at that point we need to address HOW they are studying.
What I found most irritating (and I definitely took this too personally) was that almost all the students blamed me for their crappy grades. The honors students FREAKED out at me. Not only do I believe the quiz was fair BUT quiz corrections are available for those who were unhappy with their performance. The bottom line is they are choosing to blame me rather than take responsiblity for their grades. “You failed me. “This teacher gave me a bad grade.” “This teacher won’t give me an A.” These are sayings I hear constantly about myself and other teachers around the school. It’s very hard for me not to take it personally but to find ways to help them learn to take responsibility and do better.
I don’t want to let them push me away, I don’t want to get so frustrated I give up. These students are good students, they are not dumb, they are not bad. But I require thinking and effort in my classroom. Some of these students are used to an inflated grade or a little amount of work – so when they enter my room they either flip out, shut down, or tune out. I realize routine, high expectations and practice will get them better at this but for now I just feel very frustrated.