Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm So Confused

I know, anyone reading this is saying "NOT AGAIN!" I can't help it. I'm compulsive. I want to do what is best for my geometry kids and I don't know what the right thing to do is.

Originally we were told that the kids were staying in geometry the entire year, no matter how poorly they were doing. I took this to mean, I better convince them that they can pass. Of course, many can't but I've put on my cheer leading outfit, broken out my best cheers and I am pushing them on. I'm pushing them to at least get a 50 and I'm promising to change the grade to passing if they manage to pass next semester. You still can't hear a pin drop, but most are starting to work. Even some of the real airheads are starting to get it. I made sure I did and redid every problem on the first part of the midterm so many times that they would be able to do it on the exam. They saw that I wasn't feeding them a line of BS and that if they listened they can pass. Maybe, like the Obama supporters out there, they are starting to BELIEVE.

So, what is the problem with all of this? We were just told that the kids who are failing (below 50) can be placed in a different class next term where they will concentrate on the algebraic skills we tried to tell Suit last year they lacked. My dilemma is do I give them a grade under 50 and move them into an easier class or do I keep plugging away, pray the regents will be easy and have a low cut off score to pass, and just try to teach them enough math to pass the course as it is. (They do not need this regents to graduate.) I want to know if they will learn more with me in geometry or more in another classroom, repeating algebra. So many of the kids that are put back end up in a cycle of repeating class after class after class. The things that they don't know now have been taught to them a zillion times and they might never learn them.

I hate being in a position where I am playing G-d with their lives. This one little decision on my part can be a make or break decision for the rest of their lives. What gives me the right to decide who goes on and who does not? Maybe if I did things differently more would be passing. I wanted to be able to give them an easier course but now that I have that option I don't know if I should take it. I'm so confused! Is there any help for me? I need a vacation.


Anonymous said...

Imagine what elementary teachers go through when students are starting to make progress but still not meeting the standards. Do we hold them over or pass them??

It is not an easy decision. You need to know the family is behind the success of the child and they are receiving extra tutoring at home.

If these students need to know the basics and still don't, you will have to weigh that heavily.


Sonja said...

Do you have the time/opportunity to talk to the students and see what their druthers would be in this situation? Lacking any other input, I would probably keep them with you - you are making progress with them. Move them out and that may stop.

Kim Hughey said...

My vote, for what it's worth, is to keep them with you. They will learn more in a class where they are being challenged and with a caring teacher like you. If they go back, more than likely, they will be in a class with 25-30 students just like them and they will feed off of each other's weaknesses. Not much learning is likely to occur.

I had the opportunity to remove some students at semester who failed, but chose to keep them. The counselors were surprised that I didn't want to "get rid" of them.
Maybe I am egotistical, but I think they will learn more from me than with some other teachers.

I agree, many of your students will never master formal geometry, just like many of mine will never master algebra, but it's OK! They will benefit from having a great teacher like you.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I have been speaking to the kids, and they want to stay. I just worry that they will wast the whole year if they can't pass.

Sonya--I have been thinking exactly what you have written.

Mrs. H--thank you for your kind words but I don't there is anything great about me.

Anonymous said...

We are annualizing so all geometry 1 continue. About 1/3 are really weak, another 1/3 do little but are squeeking by. I only got thru 1/3 of the curriculum ( I must like that fraction ! ) but the sample regents doesn't seem too bad. I plan to use the workbook that cost $ 10 each that complements the text. Yes the class is noisy, the AP's seem to like that but the more dedicated students do not.

Just have to teach in a simpler way and not worry so much about the State Standards.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I've don about a little over half the curriculum. I'm also picking and choosing what I think they can do. I am keeping the majority of the kids with me. I don't care what my AP says.

Anonymous said...

I will definitely cover anything on the sample and anything else necessary as a prelim to what's on the sample. We have the Key book which is difficult for many teachers much less non reader students. They'll probably need about 40 points to pass, I would guess.