This school has the lowest possible expectations for its students. Students are not expected to do homework, come on time, complete missed work, do their own work on tests, pay attention, behave properly, etc. Why do I say this?
1. Cheating is okay. Where I grew up – your eyes drifted more than once you got a zero. Here, if I have to tell you more than 3 times I get to take off 5 points. Also, students are INFURIATED with me for not helping them on exams. So much so that many tests end up on the floor, students get up and ditch class and ultimately give up. I am constantly saying variations of, “This is an assessment of your knowledge, not mine,” which the students loathe.
2. Homework is optional. Yes, it is 20% of your grade but hey don’t worry because I’m not allowed to have so many F’s I have to allow you to make up EVERY SINGLE ASSIGNMENT for FULL CREDIT before the marking period is over. So now students who have been slacking off get to do all this work (and I get to grade it) and not lose any points. But the point of homework is not for a grade it’s to understand content better and be able to participate in classroom activities and learning!!
For instance, I had a study guide packet I gave students, I made it worth homework points as incentive for more to do it (didn’t work). But when students came in and found out it was worth points, they took the test, turned it in and then got to work on the study guide – SO BACKWARDS. And they didn’t even care.
3. I was told by several teachers to make sure the quarterly exam is not cumulative, not too hard, and does not make it so they fail. In fact, one teacher is having her quarterly test grade based on students completing standardized test problems in the computer lab. Maybe I’ll do a project…
I am feeling a little frustrated since I am supposed to be assisting students more with critical thinking and less with procedures and many of my students might meet me at my expectations if I had more support.
What I think I will do with the seniors is a project where I offer them two jobs, one at salary and the other hourly and they have to tell me which is better and what their paychecks would look like etc. (This is what we’ve been working on all quarter and commission). With the juniors maybe I’ll do a project where they pick one topic from all the topics we’ve done so far and create their own quiz questions and answer key or something like that.
I refuse to compromise learning so everyone can get an A. When I did the discovering pi project (pictures and awesome post soon to come) it went GREAT and I scored it as a quiz grade to boost their averages. I want to do something like that, but I need to think quick so it’s up and ready to start on Monday and be completed by Wednesday!