Excited and Nervous: All Seniors, All Day

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by TrademarkTer, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Feb 3, 2018

    So I know we still have 5 months left in this year, but my boss was talking to me about what she is tentatively planning on having me teach next year in our last discussion. She wants me to teach 1 section of Honors Multivariable Calculus (a brand new course here) and 4 sections of CP Calculus 1. Both classes will be at least 90-95% seniors.

    With the Multivariable, my biggest concern is learning the content as it's been a long time since I've done Multivariable Calculus. I plan to devote a big chunk of time to re-teaching myself that content this summer. That said, I know those students will be highly motivated and interested in the material (after all, high school students don't take that Calc 3 just for "fun").

    With CP Calculus 1 I have the exact opposite concern. The content will be no problem. Even though I've not taught Calculus 1, I still remember it such that that won't be an issue. What I am concerned about there is issues with motivation, particularly the second half of the year after the kids get into college. For the past couple of years, I have taught mostly juniors. Juniors tend to be the most focused group (IMO) academically as it seems to be the year that matters most to colleges. I have had 2-3 seniors in my junior pre-calc classes, but even if they decided to start slacking off, they were such a small portion of the class, that it was not a big deal. This being the first time I will teach a class that is mostly seniors, senioritis may be a bigger concern. Some teachers who have taught the class before made the second half of the year really easy on the seniors. That is so NOT my style, and I fear that this makes it worse, sending the message that slacking is acceptable.The one thing I do have going for me is that many of the students will be kids I taught this year so they know my expectations. I will also likely be writing many of their college rec letters so they may put in effort just to keep me happy. That said, I am still a little nervous. What are you experiences with teaching mostly seniors, and how have you fought against senioritis?
     
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  3. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Feb 4, 2018

    I have had mostly senior classes (math...all levels and topics). "Senioritis" is an issue but not as big as you might fear/suspect. Acknowledge it and talk about it openly but maintain the standards you have always had. You may see a few more missing assignments and grades for just a few students may dip a bit but things don't fall off a cliff so to speak.

    Since the topic is calculus, that tells me you will have the 'upper tier" students so you won't have the same problems as the man/woman teaching the seniors in the "Elementary High School Mathematics so we can say everyone has 4 math credits under the belt" class (the actual name of this class varies by school but I believe every school has one). In those classes, you may have a few good students who are just weak mathematically. The remainder are the ones who will use "senioritis" as just one more tool in their already full toolbox to avoid doing any work. I doubt you will have any of those in a calculus class (based on my experiences). Many of the kids taking calc in HS will be seeing it again in college so there is that reason alone to keep them engaged.

    Overall, seniors are my favorite group. Yes, "senioritis" is a thing but it is not that big of an issue in the grand scheme of things. The extra year of maturity and the fact that college preparation is no longer an abstract thing but a real issue for them makes the tradeoff worthwhile (imo). Sounds like you have a good situation for the next school year.
     
  4. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Feb 6, 2018

    I teach CP seniors and (mostly) love them. We have a big senior project that is the stick/carrot to keep them going. Can you assign some kind of ongoing, high-interest project, that would be worth a big enough part of their grade that they would ostensibly fail if they don't complete it? Something connecting math to the real world or workplace would be ideal -- perhaps interviewing people in careers they are interested about how they use math in the workplace? Kids in this group really need to see the applicability of what they are being asked to do.
     
  5. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Feb 6, 2018

    Seniors drive me insane 2nd semester.
     
  6. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Feb 6, 2018

    I have always believed that 2nd semester, freshmen become sophomores, sophomores become juniors, juniors become seniors, and seniors become kindergartners :D
     
    jadorelafrance likes this.

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