Today I realized these kids are hopeless.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by cb0612, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. cb0612

    cb0612 Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Today I posted final semester grades on my door. After whining for 3 hours yesterday (exam block) after they finished their tests that I don't grade quick enough, for some reason I decided crunch grades and get them up. They only cared because it was something to complain about. A whopping two came by to see what they got. Of course that was just to inform me that I should ignore the fact that they didn't turn homework in for weeks at a time and pass them.

    First year teacher here. A few short months ago, I JUST KNEW that I could inspire them to do their work! What a joke. And really, why should they listen to me when I tell them to be responsible and put forth even a tiny bit of effort? Since kindergarten they've been told how special they are, how its not their fault when they act out in class because it's some crazy new disorder made up last week that caused the outburst, how its not their fault when they fail because their parents are divorced, or they're still getting over the horrors of getting in a fender bender at McDonalds three years ago, and the stress from those situations is overwhelming.

    Today I was awakened to the fact that these kids are the dumbest and wimpiest kids of all time, and there is no coming back from it now.

    Someone will tell me that every generation feels this way about the next generation. No. This is exponential.

    Many will tell me to leave the profession. No. Just call me "Mr. Reality." I will inform these kids that "NO! Please! Listen to me! YOU WILL NEVER BE AN ASTRONAUT BECAUSE ASTRONAUTS DON'T GET 17s ON THEIR TESTS, THEN GO OUT IN THE HALL AND TALK ABOUT SWAG!" I will let these kids experience failure...and if I'm evil for enjoying it, then so be it. I will sleep fine tonight while everyone else scrambles around trying to figure out ways to pass failures and wonders why that grumpy Marine down the hall has so many F's in his class.

    Everything will collapse in a few years. The sense of entitlement all these kids wear is noticeable in athletics, college, and now the workplace. Everything will soon be infected by these special little darlings we are pushing through.
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Can't say that I share your attitude about children today, but, to each his own.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Do kids even want to be astronauts these days? I never hear that, which makes me sad.

    Okay, that's not your point...but I'm not sure what to say. I understand how you feel to a degree.
     
  5. cb0612

    cb0612 Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Ha! No....I think I've heard that once, I guess I used astronaut for any career that they won't ever achieve.
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Virtuoso

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    Jan 16, 2013

    My husband is currently in the NASA astronaut application pool, so it isn't completely unheard of.

    Back on topic, I'm dealing with a 19% failure rate. They need to learn the consequences of failure. To be honest, my class is easy to pass with at least a minimal effort. Several of my failing students were supposed to graduate early but have postponed it for themselves. A couple still have a 0% in my class after 18 weeks (not counting breaks).

    The best way to stay sane is not to take it personally. The students who are failing are doing so by ignoring me. If they took the chance to work with me, I could probably get them to a passing grade within a day. Instead, they'll have to take the class again with another teacher.

    I focus on the 81% of my students who are striving to complete their education, especially those who ask for help and are happy to received it. They are doing amazing things, usually under extraordinary circumstances. Many of my best students are young parents, or full-time workers (sometimes two full-time jobs, or dealing with chronic illnesses. They get my full attention during as much of my waking time that I can give, well beyond my office hours.

    Concentrate on the promising, manage the disappointing, and love what you can of all of them.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 16, 2013

    The OP just makes me so sad. I'd advise this person to either get a mentor who makes a difference for kids and who can inspire you or to please leave education. There are plenty waiting in the wings who won't give up so quickly.
     
  8. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jan 16, 2013

    ^ 100%

    My kids are by and large amazing young people that I'm thrilled to know.

    I'd love to know what your'e teaching your kids and how you're teaching it if so many of them have zero interest in learning it. I taught a room full of 12 years about humanism which has somewhere less than zero relevance to their lives today and it didn't leave me wanting to quit on the human race.
     
  9. Poodle15

    Poodle15 Companion

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    Jan 16, 2013

    What the OP described I see every single day at school, as teenagers ring me up at the register in the grocery story, and in other situation. Students who would rather get high than crack open a book, or sleep through class then complain when they totally miss the instructions, who don't take notes while they text all hour, who say, "Who needs an education when you have SWAG?"

    But as ANNOYING and frustrating as it is, that purposeful ignorance is what makes me want to teach.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I have had moments with some students where I've felt the same way--at least some of the things in the OP (not all). It can be frustrating and I understand it. Even so, it usually goes away when I have a kid who suddenly "gets it" or when I get a nice note.

    If this is a permanent opinion, I recommend looking for a job in a different field. If it's temporary, then have a beer and sleep it off. Tomorrow is a new day.
     
  11. Nichole906

    Nichole906 Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I've been feeling similar to the OP. It's my first year, and nothing prepared me for the amount of disinterest, lack of effort, or addiction to cell phones that some of my students have. But there are always students in my classes that truly care, and I've started to focus all of my effort on them rather than letting the kids who don't seem to care drain all my energy. It might not be ideal , because I know I should be trying to reach all the kids, but its what is getting me through the days right now. There must be some good kids in your class.
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I do agree with this statement. Overall, though, I must say that your post makes me sad. :(

    I'd have to agree with czacza!
     
  13. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I think this all really depends on the type of community where one works. Some of my friends teach in some fairly affluent suburbs of Chicago, and much of their discussions with me indicate that by and large, most of their students are good kids who want to learn, put forth some effort (or a lot of effort), and are mostly fun to be around. Of course there are always exceptions to this, but by and large, that's the impression I get from those teachers.

    However, I teach in a school that is 60% low-income, and whilst my reactions are perhaps not QUITE as strong as that of the OP, I do understand the sentiment. I have dozens of kids who refuse to do assignments, believe a "D-" is absolutely fantastic, refuse to take notes, disrespect staff, and are generally rude kids. Further, many of these same students balk at any challenge and get annoyed at virtually everything.

    Are ALL my kids like that? Of course not... I have some fantastic students and I do enjoy my job. Some of my class periods are great. But I have a study hall period with mostly apathetic students, and that section has turned into my daily nightmare. Most of the students in the room refuse to do homework, bring nothing to do, and won't stop talking to allow those who want to work, to do so. Assigning detentions does nothing because they simply don't show up, and bumping them to in-school suspension does nothing because they ENJOY that (it gets them out of class, and thereby out of any expectation to actually do something). Do I hate the kids themselves? No. But I hate the situation itself, and have yet to find a way to improve it.


    I've typed a lot, but my bottom line is that I understand. I wish I taught in a school district where the kids were fun and learning was inspirational, and I think it's great that some of have such a workplace. But that's not the reality of many schools. If I had to deal with the type of student I described above as 100% of my population, I would go insane.
     
  14. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Jan 16, 2013

    Today I was awakened to the fact that these kids are the dumbest and wimpiest kids of all time, and there is no coming back from it now.

    Teaching is an incredible challenge, and I can see you are getting beaten up pretty bad in it. I do feel for you. Your comments are not complaining, they are mean. Insulting and making fun of children is below the dignity of a teacher.
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Jan 16, 2013

    YOU WILL NEVER BE AN ASTRONAUT BECAUSE ASTRONAUTS DON'T GET 17s ON THEIR TESTS, THEN GO OUT IN THE HALL AND TALK ABOUT SWAG!"

    Really? Abraham Lincoln could hardly read at age 14 and many famous people struggled in school...While I am not sure of scores of astronauts, I would guess some struggled in school as well. The only failure is in giving up.
     
  16. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Jan 16, 2013

    cb0612 - For the most part, you're right.

    In fact, a teacher in our nearby suburbs wrote a blog saying many of the things you've stated. I didn't follow the story close enough to know how, but her true identity was discovered by her school district and, surprise, surprise, her observations magically became "unsatisfactory" after years of good reviews. The administrators manufactured enough evidence to terminate her for her beliefs, not her actual teaching ability.

    Anyway, you're just one person and you're never going to change the new culture of contemporary society. Teach the material, take the pay, the benefits, the summers off, and the pension. "Mr. Holland's Opus" is just a movie, not real life.


    :cool:
     
  17. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jan 16, 2013

    I agree with this sentiment. In fact, we are already seeing it in the workplace and have for the last several years.

    A great deal of this is instilled by the school system itself. When a teacher is told the lowest grade they can give is a "50" (as long as the student attempted at least 1 problem), the message to the student is "You will get half-credit for doing nothing".

    After our first grading period at my previous school, a couple of students wanted to know "WHY did you give me a D? (or F)". I said "I didn't 'give' you a D, you earned it on your own".
     
  18. HeartDrama

    HeartDrama Connoisseur

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    Jan 17, 2013

    During my seminar class this semester, we watched a documentary called The Education of Ms. Groves. It was about a young and idealistic first year teacher (TFA) with big hopes for her kids. They broke her down. She found herself yelling, breaking up fights, giving ultimatums, and then she reevaluated. She figured out how to approach her kids and help then reach the bar she'd set.

    I know this isn't exactly the scenario presented by the OP. But I thought it was pertinent because first year teachers often (usually) get more than they bargained for and question the choice to teach. I think Ms. Groves experience is one that we can learn from. (And evidently my professors thought so as well, since they made us watch it.) Perhaps, CB, you could check it out.
     
  19. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Aficionado

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    No child is ever hopeless. Not even when they're almost 18 and have been in trouble all their lives, there is always hope for change. As teachers, we must believe that.
    Sure, after a tough day it's ok to vent and feel the way the OP feels, but if that is a permanent state of mind, there is a problem.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Phenom

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    Jan 17, 2013

    I think that once you give up hope in your students, you won't be able to teach them anything.

    I'm having rough times as well, but my students know I stand by them and I believe every single one of them can learn.

    Students will always whine and moan. They're kids! I know I certainly wasn't a perfect mature student at their age. Heck, I'm barely mature as it is now. But I won't put up with it. You set your rules and your grading procedures and you don't cross them.

    They don't like it? Tough.

    You don't like that they're not immediately grateful to you for sticking to your guns and praising you for giving them the F they deserve? Then you have a personal problem.
     
  21. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jan 17, 2013

    Great article in the ny times about the importance of correctly given praise and the dangers of incorrectly given praise, getting to the point of what the op has observing.

    I don't know that I have highly unique thoughts here, but I'll say this - I sympathize with the identification of the problem, but don't remotely find the solution by the op helpful. Namely, the solution does not appear to be generated for the benefit of students, but to please one's own frustrations. In short, there's nothing wrong with giving up on students, so long as you simultaneously give up on your career as a teacher and quit. If you don't believe things can be changed, why try?
     

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