Students who hate your subject (beforehand)

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Mar 18, 2017

    I had my students write About pages about themselves and their experiences in my subject in order to get to know them a bit better.

    One thing that I found interesting is that a lot of them have said that they have said that my subject has never been their favorite, and that they haven't enjoyed it all throughout their schooling careers. Most often mention that it's not their worst subject or the subject they hate the most, but it's not their favorite.

    It seems a lot of them come into the class with this kind of baggage already, and that can be a definite hindrance to learning the subject. (If a student comes into your class automatically thinking they're going to hate your subject, it's very hard to reach them). I often see them saying similar things about English or Math, as well, and it could very well be that most of these students just hate school in general (they certainly act like it).

    I wish I could say that their attitudes would change once they enter my class, but they often don't. If someone is convinced they hate something, it's very hard to convince them otherwise.

    What do you do with students like this? They have very little motivation to learn for the sake of expanding their knowledge and are just there to check the boxes and get their diplomas.
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Devotee

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    Mar 18, 2017



    Build the relationships and show them that you're on THEIR side and not the horrible beast they thin you are. GUARANTEED a lot of students 'hate' math, for example, because they've had lackluster teachers who didn't even bother to be real or get to know them. I struggled in math (and had to re-take algebra,) so it put me behind so when I had to take geometry I already was pissed, and I do have a math disability which didn't help, but my teacher was FABULOUS! She had a great sense of humor, was very relatable (she was relatively young,) but knew her stuff and explained it well! She was also my AIS math teacher and WOULDN'T let me go until I got it! YOU have to be that teacher. I was a junior and most of my classmates were freshmen/sophomores so yeah I felt out of place, but I didn't care. She seriously was amazing! Sadly she's stepped out of the classroom and has been working as the AP at the school. It's what she wanted to do, but the students lost a great teacher.
    :(
     
  4. GemStone

    GemStone Cohort

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    Mar 18, 2017

    Is that such a bad thing? We've all taken requisite courses that we could care less about. One of mine was always science. I loved art, history, math and English, but took science because my high school and university required it. I did well enough in my science classes, checked them off the box, and got my diploma while focusing on the classes I enjoyed or planned to use in the future. I worked to expand my knowledge in the classes I loved.
     
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  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I came into a school where my predecessor was... not the kindest, most flexible teacher. A lot of students avoided her subject. The first thing I did was to offer different tracks for students who wanted to or had to give ELA (and me) a try. I've also developed some project-based learning for individual students who are just never going to feel comfortable in traditional curriculum. For example, I have a student who is a promising chef working through a cookbook and blogging about it while, at the same time, I'm working through the SAME cookbook because she is teaching me how to cook!

    This doesn't work for many situations due to a lack of time and flexibility in the classroom setting. However, if you can flip your classroom so you can teach as a guide on the side, you may find some great success.
     
  6. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Rookie

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    Mar 18, 2017

    I'm teaching English at a school where many of the students are ESL learners, so they feel frustrated with starting all over in a language like they are babies. Plus, the history teacher is the Easy A grader I previously described, so she pretends like these students can read/write/speak at A levels even though they are just newly learning the language. I don't pretend they are not quite "there" yet, so they find my B and C grades frustrating because, hey, the history teacher gave them an A grade so they must be able to read, write, and speak English like a native!

    I try to give them small breaks now and again. Last Friday, I gave them a couple freebie answers to an upcoming quiz, so, hopefully, they will get motivated enough with this handicap to study for the rest of the quiz I didn't cover. I will find out on Monday if this plan works.

    I also offered extra credit to all 4 of my English classes. It is a significant point boost of extra credit and minimal work. Yet the kids--especially those with C grades--are so unmotivated and apathetic, that only two students have done the extra credit so far. I do have about 15 students already getting A grades, so I can see why they might not do the extra credit. But I have about 30 students with B and C grades, and only 2 of them did the extra credit out of 30.
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I've done my best to do this as well. I even sometimes hear students say that I'm a good teacher but they just don't like my subject, which I guess I can understand if it's just personal preference. I hated English growing up, but I still looked for aspects of it that I enjoyed. And I would never say that I liked math but I was good at it.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I have had quite a few students who said they hate my subject, English. They announce it, as in warning me not to expect anything from them. I think a lot of it comes from: not liking / or low level of reading, not liking / or low level of writing, never really got interested in any of the stories, could be bad past experience with a teacher, with a final grade, with a class (and teaching style of that teacher).

    Besides hoping that my enthusiasm will rub off on them, if it's obvious that they're sliding towards failing, I let them know that they don't have to like English, but they have to do enough work, at a certain level to pass it in order to graduate high school. I sometimes explain to them that I'm not crazy about history, or at least not parts of it, but I wanted to graduate high school and college, so I had to do the work. It's harder when you don't like the subject, but still doable.

    If their main thing is not being good at writing, I explain to them that I TEACH them writing, not just hand a piece of paper and say write.

    Other than that, I'm not changing anything, nor making exceptions, I'm sure all of us had one subject here and there we didn't like, we still did it and survived.
     
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  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Devotee

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    Mar 20, 2017 at 7:46 AM

    Oh? Then I'd just be happy with that then. Based on how you present the material, they may warm up to it, but I don't believe you'll shatter the ice and make them want to pursue it as a career. As long as they are respectful and do what needs to be done -- be happy! I had students complain about both me AND what I had to teach. It wasn't fun! I taught 3rd grade and a lot of them just whined how they wanted to be in somebody else's class... I wasn't there to play around as they were accustomed to. You can't win over everybody.
    :D
     
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