Friday, January 19

Teaching Goodness

I would really like to remind myself of the good days of teaching. Because it's easy to get bogged down in the bad - segregation, politics, being shit on by students, their parents and your administration, working 12+ hours 6 days a week. Wait, I'm not going to focus on that part.

I have two students, let's call them D1 and D2 in my 2nd and 3rd period classes. Both black, both very smart. D1 occasionally does homework while D2 does nothing outside of class. D1 has a caring grandmother who is involved, but can't get him to do his homework; D2 has virtually no parental support. D1 comes to class roughly twice a week, D2 is there every day. D1 has no chance of passing, however, D2 has a D- in my class because he does no homework, but generally scores well on tests and quizzes and usually does his class work. Well today, after they'd both been in class all of 2nd, I noticed that they didn't have their white collared shirts on (it's hard to tell sometimes under the sweatshirts). So I told them they needed to get their stuff and go down stairs.

Miraculously, they both returned in uniform 35 minutes later. I stood out in the hall with them discussing why they were so long if they had shirts with them. D1 said he didn't want to be in my class anyway and I told him that was fine, but that it was rude of him to be pulling D2 down with him. "How you gonna blame me for pulling anyone down with me?" You're right I said, the only one you're pulling down is yourself.

"Em, this not teaching goodness" you're thinking. And prehaps you're right, maybe I should have been more tactful with D1. But if you know me, I'm very rarely tactful. However, D2 decided to come in. And then he got to work. And then he asked me to grade his work. The first part of their final is multiple choice. They're allowed to take (different versions) as many times as they want to get a perfect score. However, to get any points at all they have to get at least 70% right. D2 has consistenly been getting 67% because he keeps changing his answers. He did this again today. And he said, "That's just my thing, I don't know why I keep doing it." I said, "Well, next time I'm not going to let you have an eraser so that you keep your right answers right!" And he walked out the door with a big grin on his face and said, "See you later, Ms. S" this being the first time he's 1) smiled in class and 2) called me by my name. Sigh.

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