crying and screaming students..help!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by EngTeacher15, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. EngTeacher15

    EngTeacher15 Companion

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    Feb 12, 2007

    I'm a first year teacher, and I battled teaching and grading 9th grade research papers for the first time. I handed them back today...and let's just say, I had many negative responses.

    First of all, I had about 8 kids that turned in papers without a Works Cited page or without citations. I handed these papers back and said "You have a weekend to fix it" (it was a Friday). I told them they'd get the one day late penalty (which is minus 40 points for a 200 point paper). I really shouldn't have given them second chances at all, but it was more important that they learned the PROCESS. I wanted to make them DO the work, rather than just giving them zeroes.

    I had one student who made a big deal when I gave him his paper back (after it didn't have a Works Cited page). He said it was my fault because I supposedly never returned his Works Cited page back to him. I know this isn't the case, but this is what he claims. I told him, even if that WAS the case, it doesn't matter. He should have known to include it at the end of the paper, just like the majority of the kids did. He turned it in the next day with the Works Cited; so I was happy. That is until today.

    I handed the papers back at the end of class, and as SOON as the bell rang he started running his mouth saying that it was BS that he lost 40 points, blah blah blah. First of all, his paper wasn't well written to begin with, and it didn't follow the assignment at all. He would have failed anyway. Second of all, he knew AHEAD of time that I was taking the 40 points off. I asked him to come talk to me, and that if he wanted to talk about his paper to talk to me and not to his friends. Since it was the last period of the day, he threw a fit and said he couldn't talk to me because he was going to be late for the bus. He was very rude and was screaming at me saying it was ALL MY FAULT. I told him he had no right to disrespect me like that. He crumbled up the rubric and threw it in the hallway on the way out. I tried calling his mother after school, but I could not get ahold of her. I'll try again tomorrow.

    I also had a girl that hadn't even turned the paper in at all, and finally tried to turn it in today. It was due three weeks ago, and I told them from the beginning that I wasn't going to accept papers after 3 days after the due date. She was crying and was less than happy with me too when I refused to accept it.

    Basically...I need ADVICE. I need to know how to handle these types of situations (students and parents--I have a feeling I'll be hearing from the parents too).

    Suggestions??? :confused:
     
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  3. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    Feb 12, 2007

    I truly don't understand the sense of entitlement students seem to bring with them to school--and my heart goes out to you. I'm a first year teacher, too (sixth grade language arts), and I'm stunned when students complain about the grades they've "earned." I'm even more stunned by the parents (and by no means all parents) who want "special consideration" for their child. It's so frustrating.

    I realize my students are quite a bit younger than yours, and I don't know if this will help--but beginning this second semester, my policy is "homework/projects are due when they are due."

    The whining, the crying, the blaming . . . whether by students or parents . . . I don't let allow it to stress me out. I've become a kind of Teflon teacher when it comes to that.

    I've realized with my AIG's (academically and gifted students), that sometimes the shock of a bad grade is all it takes.

    I also don't give extra credit work toward the end of the grading periods to students who didn't do assigned work to begin with.

    Hang Tough!!!
     
  4. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I am a High School Social Studies and I completely agree with you. You have to stick to your guns; if you are not going to accept papers after 3 days do that! That girl desrves a zero and too bad for her; you stated that papers won't be accpted after 3 days past the due date. This isn't Kindergarden! (I know I sound mean but is so-and-so's boss in the real world going to allow her to turn in a report for a project 3 weeks after it was due-NO!)

    Personally, I accept daily assignments late the next day for 50% credit, all other assignments and projects go down 10% per day.

    I offer extra credit but in small amounts no more than 20 points only a few times per term.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    You'll get the attitude. They are teenagers. It's not right though. I'm not equipped or experienced enough to offer any advice on how to deal with it though.

    I like a few things you said. The main thing being that you gave them clear expectations ahead of time down. You also built in some flexibility. When I was in school, we didn't have late papers past middle school. I think flexibility is a good thing though.

    In college, my husband didn't do his cited works page correctly and it cost him a letter grade. He wasn't on the border between two grades either. Yikes.
     
  6. Andrea in CO

    Andrea in CO Rookie

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    Feb 13, 2007

    This same thing happened to me when I taught English. The only thing to do is make sure students have detailed written directions for every assignment so there are no disputes later, and apply the due-date policy consistently to everyone. Perhaps this class just wasn't used to that from previous teachers. Students will get unreasonably upset about it--I had one student write a whole page in my yearbook at the end of the year about how she shoudn't have lost points on a late assignment months before--but you're being fair to everyone and there's no reason to feel bad. The students will adjust. In future assignments make sure to re-emphasize the policy, and remind students they they can improve their averages by good and timely work throughout the rest of the semester.
     
  7. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Feb 13, 2007

    Don't back down. At this level, they know the rules and they are just testing you. DON'T GIVE AN INCH. If you give even a little bit, you'll be getting late papers all year. Deadlines and responsibility may be boring and tedious, but it's better to get a bad grade now than be fired from a job later for not taking it seriously.
     
  8. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Feb 13, 2007

    Good advice Mamacita...............

    Major :)
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2007

    They're kids. They're looking for someone to blame, and it's certainly not going to be themselves. You're the next best target. It's the nature of the beast.

    That doesn't mean they're right, just that they think they are.

    Next year, when you give the same assignment, you can give the example of what last year's class tried to get away with, and how unhappy they were when it didn't work out their way.

    The only concrete suggestion I have for the future is to include the grading rubric with the assignment. That way they can't claim they didn't know. ( You and I both know you said it 100 times. But having it in writing makes it harder to dispute.)

    So cheer up. This is one of those unpleasant parts of the job, that's all.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Wise words, Alice. Seems to me this can be said with as much justice of human beings in general; a common role of education and of upbringing is to attempt to denature us - not that it always "takes".
     
  11. Madrone

    Madrone Rookie

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    Feb 13, 2007

    Make them toe the line

    I told my 8th and 9th graders up front I do NOT accept late work, nor do I give extra credit. For a set of persuasive papers I handed them back for revisions and gave a second set of grades for them, but it did not improve the original grade.

    Unfortunately, many of them feel entitled to -- well, to just about whatever they want. In addition to the classwork, we are also teaching them responsibility and accountability (or trying to, fwiw). Make them toe the line and after the first few times you'll stop feeling so badly about it.
     
  12. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    Feb 13, 2007

    TG- What do you mean by 'denature?' I think I understand what you're saying in your message, but I'm not quite certain about that word. Could you help me understand that?
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2007

    Can I guess? "To go against our nature"??

    Our nature is to protect ourselves. Schooling and parenting both try to teach us to see the larger picture, not just our own point of view.

    How did I do?
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    That's more or less it. I was also being a little wry, it having been that kind of week so far. And perhaps a little too cute with the language for my own good.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2007

    Nah, I learn by reading your posts. Keep 'em coming!
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I was also thinking of denatured alcohol... that's what I mean by "too cute".
     
  17. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    Feb 13, 2007

    I am a self-professed grammar nerd, an INTP (for the Myers-Briggs types out there), and not much fun at dinner parties. (Hey! Let's talk commas!!)

    I also love tweaking language--I love the wry, the cool, the silly, the twists...
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    That all depends, b-rad - a couple bottles of wine, one of Karen Elizabeth Gordon's grammar books, the sort of company that can appreciate both, and, hey, laissez les bons temps rouler!

    Watch out, though: there are people on A to Z who Do Not Appreciate Puns.
     
  19. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    I so hear that one!

    I feel the same way about sarcasm. Why waste the wit on the witless? (not talking about my sixth graders, of course)
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I got Myers-Briggsed, among other things, on the way out of a bad marriage and tend to ignore the results, though IN-something-P is highly probable.

    One wastes the wit on the witless when the alternative is ulcer or committing mayhem, I think. (See above.)
     
  21. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    Which above?
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The bad marriage, mostly.
     
  23. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    I'm on my way out of a second bad one.

    I don't cling to the Myers/Briggs thing, but the I, N, and P are accurate.
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Two, eh? (Didn't I say something about bladders and men elsewhere?)

    As to the MB: uh-huh, uh-huh, and uh-huh, not necessarily in that order.
     
  25. Docere

    Docere Rookie

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    Feb 13, 2007

    I agree with everyone who says to stand firm and not give in. They do want you to give in so they'll get what they want. So they throw a temper tantrum to try to make you feel terrible. Don't let it get to you. Just remember -- not giving into the them is the best guarantee that this won't happen again.

    The only thing you can do is make sure that you are being as fair as possible. Have assignments written up on the board. Tell them when you first assign something and remind them a couple of days before it is due. If you have a website (my school does), put all the major assignments online. Make sure the assignment and your expectations are clear.

    You also mentioned that one of your students claimed they turned in a Works Cited page and they never got it back. This gives you good reason to be very organized if you aren't already so that you and your students know that you didn't lose anything. Have a pile of "no names" accessible to the students. Just try your very best to keep things organized and precise so you'll be 100% sure you haven't made a mistake, and if a mistake has been made, it will be easy to catch and fix.
     
  26. EngTeacher15

    EngTeacher15 Companion

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Thanks for the great advice, everyone! I actually took most of the precautions that you guys suggested. I included the grading rubric when I gave the assignment. I also had all students (plus their parents) sign the expectations sheet with all due dates and requirements. It's nice to see that you are all on my side though. Thank you!
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

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    If the expectations have been made clear, then stick to your guns... tough as the students and their parents may make that.

    Huge hug to you.
     
  28. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    I just got off the phone with an initially angry mom re: her son's progress report. I'm so thankful for my obsessive/compulsive paper trail! Rubrics, soft copies, hard copies, tattooes, whatever it takes! It's CYA, but more importantly, it's a map for consistency!

    And TG, I had an AMAZING teacher day. TOUGH, to be sure, but AMAZING! I think I'm a happy accident kind of a teacher.
     
  29. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oooo, b-radical, I'm excited for you! Tell the story, pleeeeease?
     
  30. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    Feb 14, 2007

    We're starting our Renaissance unit, and the prescribed book is Catherine, Called Birdie. Personally, I love the book. But the majority of the students at my school will die from boredom. First, it's a "girl" book, and I not only have more males than females, I have several male students who are openly involved in gangs.
    Given that, Catherine Called Birdie isn't going to cut it.

    "It would be easier to teach MacBeth," I said to myself in jest.
    And then it wasn't in jest. MacBeth has absolutely everything sixth graders love--and the Renaissance had colors named goose-turd and puke. (Ms. Bradley, the happy accident of a teacher, started feeling sassy...)

    I told all four blocks today that we'll be studying MacBeth, and read them the wonderful passage by the three witches... Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble. And they were hooked!..

    The coolest thing was, the gang members in my third block GOT it! They GOT this first gist of MacBeth, and as a class, they've already decided that the scene they're going to perform will be in the hood.
    Three of the gang members are already working on a MacBeth rap.

    I've been very open with my students about being an "old white woman" (and they love my nervous tic old white woman dance), and for some reason, these four young men in my third block are giving me (in gang terms) "respect." That means their hand signals to me in the hall are given above the waist.

    You should have seen me wearing the "bejeweled" cap, brim to the side, and doing the "waz up sign" as these young men trusted me into their world--and they know I don't approve and know I'm all about tough love and such--but there's an in to education here!

    I also had the opportunity to teach from a table top today. I was stapling more words to the egregious word wall, and as my first block students came in, i pretended it was perfectly natural to stand on a table to teach. We talked about perspective and voice and I'm SO proud of my happy accident teacher comment! "How you see the world depends on where you're standing in it."

    I'm insane to do so, but I'm teaching MacBeth to my sixth graders!!
    And the gang bangers GOT the story of it just from the introduction.

    I don't know whether to sigh, sing, dance, resign, or do my old white lady hoot and holler. Know I'm smilin'.
     
  31. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, YESSSSS! High five from across the continent to you, lady!
     
  32. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    I tic across the continent back to you!! I'm psyched about this! And catch this one, oh high five, tomorrow we're going to do Shakespearean insults!

    THANK YOU!!!
     
  33. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    No holds Bard...

    May we look forward to a full report tomorrow?

    And I hope for your sake that neither administrator nor parent nor any other busybody walks into the classroom at the wrong time.
     
  34. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    Full report will be forthcoming.

    And frankly, I'm fortunate to be working with an administration that appreciates my ...umm...unique approach.

    And if someone does walk into my classroom at the wrong time, hopefully they'll learn something.

    Actually, there is no wrong time to walk into my classroom. My classroom is my classroom. And we laugh A LOT.

    I know because of NCLB (don't get me started), I could be fired tomorrow based on standardized test scores. But I know the way I'm teaching will bring me rest on my death bed. I did the best I could with this huge, amazing world.
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Explaining why one oneself is on the table top is one thing. Explaining why one's students are using invective with such enthusiasm is quite another, and not a fate I wish on my friends.

    Knowing one makes such a difference... ah, there is a Consummation Devoutly To Be Wished.
     
  36. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    Feb 15, 2007

    TG----it was AWESOME!! MAGNIFICENT!! The kids got into in a way I never dreamed possible. My street smart kids REALLY got it--a student in my toughest block, who happened not to have ISS today said, "Ms. B-rad! This is just like 'yo mama!'

    That is a lightbulb moment I'll cherish forever.

    and in every single block, students asked, "Can we do MacBeth again tomorrow?" (I read them the "Double, double toil and trouble..." after setting the scene and giving them an overview of the story. They were absorbently silent...riveted.

    On my message board outside of my room (where I list materials for the day), on student wrote, "BRING YOUR SHAKESPEARE SPIRIT!"

    Students who I've yet to get truly engaged, were TRULY engaged.

    wow. I could hardly wait to get home to tell you! Again, I say, "wow."
     
  37. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    b-radical, how glorious for you and for them!

    This is the point at which education stops being a way to make a living and starts being the oxygen in the room of your heart, no?

    If you need to do grammar drills, try having them do something like MadLibs with extracts from MacBeth - let them see that sticking the wrong part of speech in the slot makes for something that isn't even funny. And you may tell them for me that that is rather like the method that linguists use to figure out the verbs and the nouns and all in a language that hasn't been studied before: they establish a sentence that's okay with the language consultant (speaker of the language who also speaks the linguist's language), then they substitute words into the various slots of the sentence and see if the result is still okay.

    Let me also recommend this site: http://petelevin.com/shakespeare.htm. Shakespearean insult kits or generators work basically the same way... and you could have them figure it out. You could also have them using tools of language, including morphological analysis, to figure out just what some of these terms mean. (Whether it would be advisable to allow them to construct some 21st-century versions, I will leave to your ample discretion and your sense of the local politics...)

    O brave new world, that has such learning in it!
     
  38. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    I KNEW you were a linguist of the highest sort, TG! (Are you a musician as well? I ask for a reason...) I love and am going to use your suggestions, and I'm going to ride this tide of our excitement.

    I've been wondering about the morphological analysis (I love linguistics), but I'm going to have to intuit my way through that one.
    As for constructing some 21st-century versions, I hear them in the halls everyday from the students in blocks two and three. What was/is so exhilarating is that for those students in particular, Shakespeare became accessible and relevent. I wish you could have heard the laughter! I wish you could have seen the smiles from the students who, until today, had to play it tough (that's their survival mode).

    As for the oxygen of my heart . . . yes. Being 48 instead of 22, I'm not easily intimidated, and I remember well the teachers who taught according to their gifts and passion. I am fortunate enough to be in contact with my own sixth grade teacher (we were his second class), who made an enormous difference in my life.

    What I am learning is that these kids are making an enormous difference in mine.

    Before I responded to you, I had to take a phone call from a parent from a student in my second block (32 kids). "Ms. Bradley," she said, "I don't know what happened today, but (daughter) is in her room studying Shakespeare. Whatever you're doing, keep doing it."

    o frabjous day...

    thanks for sharing this journey with me.
     
  39. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 15, 2007

    I'm warm and tingly all over reading this, and thrilled beyond words to share the journey.

    Wait - what do you mean by intuiting your way through morphological analysis? That you're not sure how, or that you're not sure how to get the students there?

    Funny: I had in fact typed "O frabjous day!" in my original response...
     
  40. b-radical

    b-radical Companion

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    I'm not sure how to get the students there.

    Almost Funny: I wanted to say to you today that there are more things in heaven and earth, TG, than are dreamt of in our philosphy...
     
  41. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 15, 2007

    How to get the students there? Model it, starting with, perhaps, a word like "disrespecting".

    More things, indeed...
     

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