Monday, June 29, 2009

Be Prepared, Not

Kids came into the regents exam with their I-pods and cell phones but forgot to bring pens, pencils, calculators and ID cards. Why? Is it because they were not emotionally, mentally or educationally ready to take these courses and sit for these exams?

One girl, during the Global Regents said, "Can you read me the instructions? I am too lazy to read them myself." I thought, maybe she cannot read. but, if she can't read, how could she possibly take this exam? She got to the essays and stopped. "I'm too tired to do all this writing. I think I did well enough on the short answers to pass." I pushed and pushed her and got her to write. I don't know if she finished or wrote anything coherent, but she wrote. Her attitude alone told me that something was seriously wrong with our education system. I have never, in over 30 years teaching, had a kid tell me they were too tired to finish an exam that meant passing or failing a year long course and was crucial to graduation.


NYC Educator said...

One of my students was too tired to get up and take the Regents exam. She would've passed if she had. Since she didn't, I went back and failed her for my class as well.

Ricochet said...

I teach a support class and had one kid do NOTHING all year - he wouldn't even COPY things off the board. And this was his behavior in other courses as well.

I give my speech often during the year: this isn't middle school. We are not going to pass you on. We will let you take the course as often as you want to. Until you turn 21.

He asked me towards the end of the year how many times you could take a course until the teachers finally passed you. He had less than a 20 in his math class.

Anonymous said...

Stories like this make me so sad.

Jennifer said...

I teach in New Jersey and frequently face the same problems. One student, who also never felt moved to take notes or copy from the board, didn't feel like writing the essays on the high school graduation test. Now she's mad that she has to take a remedial class next year as a senior. I'm not sure where we are going wrong in raising quite a few students to think it should be easy and require little effort to learn anything.

mathman42 said...

This was the norm in most of my classes this term, that is, when they bothered to show up. I told my repeaters that if their attendance was good and they made a reasonable effort, I would pass them. I regret my attempt at motivation as it was not effective. Few passed the Integrated Algebra Regents, even with the absurd score of 30 out of 87 a passing grade. Many did not show.

Basically, what I call the non-student somehow feels that " everything will be all right ", or that it won't make a difference in their lives.

Even several Geometry students did not show for the Regents. Half of them would have passed, I believe. After I on numerous times told them that they were the elite of their class for passing IA. Frankly, if they scored under 75 on IA they really weren't that elite.

Their desire or necessity to really have persistance and use their brains is few and far between. Yes, I know we are supposed to motivate them in this direction. Too much in IA is either totally irrelevant to their current or future lives or is way beyond their level. One wonders what went on in middle school. I
keep harping for a 3 or 4 term IA course for the 1 and low 2s to no avail.

At least it seems I'm not the only one who has had these experiences, though perhaps more frequently.