Feeling a lot of frustration

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by a teacher, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. a teacher

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    Dec 16, 2014

    I've always assumed writing for art is easier because unlike an English teacher I'm only looking for content, completion and following the format. And keep in mind that the students have been educated in the subject to the degree where they can reasonably be expected to be able to write about it.
     
  2. a teacher

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    It would probably make more sense to you if you saw the assignment. All they need to do is have good notes to work from. They follow a prescribed format on a handout I give them, form their notes into paragraphs and write a paper like any self-respecting 5th grader would. Most of them who turn in completed work get full credit. Again, they either do it or they don't. I think the problem's elsewhere, mainly in the misperception that they can afford to fail my class, and that's simply not true.
     
  3. 2ndTimeAround

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    Dec 16, 2014

    Can you explain please? Students taking PE at my school have occasional homework during the PE portion. Consistent homework during the Health portion.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Dec 16, 2014

    We don't rank schools as high or low-performing here.

    My profession has little to do with her drive; it's who she is. While dealing with 50+ hours/week of homework, she was also training and playing soccer for 15+ hours/week. She's currently a Junior on a combined athletic/academic scholarship with a Bio major and French minor. Med school has been her goal since she started high school. Both of my kids are more driven, and stronger academically than either my husband and I were.

    You obviously feel that your homework is invaluable and necessary. Nothing we can say will change that. I understand your passion for your subject; I just feel that you may be going about instilling that passion in your students the wrong way. Is there a reason they can't work on their papers in class?
     
  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Dec 16, 2014

    What do you see as the purpose of your homework that you ask them to do?

    As a follow-up, do you provide them with a rubric of how they will be assessed on that homework?

    Just a couple questions I was curious about as I read this thread - no particular opinion intended in these two questions, just trying to understand the situation better.
     
  6. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Dec 16, 2014

    I'll chime in as a parent. Here's why classes like art drive me crazy.

    My daughter is fairly high achieving. She could apply herself a little more, but I'm tough on her so she is probably right where she needs to be. She had a tough time adjusting to junior high so her grades were not where they needed to be, but she has worked hard and knows what is expected of her. She has consistently had high A's, well deserved, since 3rd quarter of last year.

    Until yesterday. She HAS to take art, mind you, in junior high it's not an option. And YESTERDAY, we discovered that her teacher had given her 0's on several projects, so she now has a 71%. With 3 days left in the semester, and yesterday was a snow day.

    So she's worked her butt off in math and english and has 99%, but she's in jeopardy of not making the honor roll because of 3 art projects.

    That's what irritates parents, and makes students not care.
     
  7. Harper

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    Dec 17, 2014

    May I ask what the purpose is in the essay? Are they synthesizing the content you gave them? Formulating an opinion? Drawing conclusions or inferences? Otherwise, it sounds like like the essay is proof that they took good notes and can regurgitate what you said. If the purpose is cementing knowledge, then maybe look at other ways to do that. As an English teacher, most of my work does not end up in a five paragraph essay. I need to be able to justify the effort.

    As to school culture. If you know your school's culture, then work with it, not against it. I was at a "no fail" school. I did not dumb down my work, but I had to change strategies to ensure students got the material and the grade.

    As a parent, a half hour a night of art homework is too much. (if we are talking about basic art classes, not AP) For any non-core class in a general Ed school it is too much. An arts magnet school? Different story, maybe.
     
  8. a teacher

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    Dec 17, 2014

    That sounds like a communication problem, not an art class problem.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 17, 2014

    I teach an elective. My students tend to enjoy my class and usually work hard during class, but they don't put forth much effort when it comes to homework for my class. For that reason, I don't assign it (other than when students need to finish work not finished during the class period). It's just not a battle I choose to fight. There are other, bigger, more important issues that require my time and energy.
     
  10. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Dec 17, 2014

    5th graders don't typically write 5-paragraph essays, at least not without a lot of scaffolding and support from the teacher. You are making a lot of assumptions about what your students should be able to do independently.

    In my 10th grade English class, I never assign an essay without providing careful guidance and support for the writing task, along with time to complete the full writing process (drafting, conferencing, revision, publication). And I never assume students coming into my class know how to structure a strong paragraph, let alone write a 5-paragraph essay.

    If you're going to assign something, you have to be willing to take the time to teach the form and structure in class and allow time for the steps of the writing process. Otherwise, you are essentially un-teaching good writing habits, or training students to think writing is just regurgitation, filling out a form, or rehashing someone else's ideas. Which it emphatically is not.
     
  11. kcjo13

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    Dec 17, 2014

    Be that as it may, it's now my problem.

    My point is, this class wasn't supposed to be this much trouble. We work extremely hard on writing and math and science, yes because those are tested, but also because frankly that's what she will use.

    Also, how likely is she to take art as an elective next year in high school? I'd say slim to none.

    None of that is your problem, of course, but I'm explaining our situation to you as a parent so maybe you can understand-you might not like it, and it might not be "fair", but other things are just more important. She likes art (and music and band and ag), but they aren't worth the hassle. For her, art is not going to get her scholarships.

    :sorry:
     
  12. daisycakes

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    Dec 17, 2014

    As a music teacher, I can say that I don't understand why you are giving so much homework. Teaching music, I give an hour a week, max, to be checked on a weekly basis (meaning kids have more than 1 night to do it). I sell the idea that, in watching 3 hours of TV, you see 1 hour of commercials. If you do your homework during commercials, you are set.
     
  13. Linguist92021

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    Dec 17, 2014

    Daisycakes, I agree with you. Giving 1 homework per week for art or music sounds very reasonable. This way there is homework, but it's not mandated that the student has to spend 2 hours on it tonight. They can learn some responsibility in managing their time and keep the deadline.

    I teach English, and if I gave an essay for homework, we would do the brainstorming and the outline in class, then the rough draft, edit and final draft would be on their own time, but I'd probably give them 3-4 days. (unless it was a research paper with their own research, in which case I'd probably give the whole thing 2 weeks, with frequent check-ins.
     
  14. a teacher

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    Dec 17, 2014

    I think your view of education is a bit short-sighted. Rather than thinking about how one thing is going to lead to another (maybe it will and maybe it won't), why not consider the entire spectrum of what an individual needs in education? Your child will change their mind about what they want to study in college and ultimately where they will work many times in their lives. Having been exposed to the arts will potentially open up possibilities for them.

    That having been said, a bad experience will turn a person off from what otherwise might have added richness to their lives.
     
  15. a teacher

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    Dec 17, 2014

    I don't disagree in principle. The problem is, as I've already stated, that the return rate for a paper for my class is the same if I give two days or a week. They still procrastinate!
     
  16. a teacher

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    Dec 17, 2014

    I suppose I give as much homework as I do (which isn't much) because that way we can cover everything I want them to learn in the course. If you're cramming everything into class time you won't cover as much.

    But I suppose I need to make a compromise there: cover less material but have more kids passing the class.
     
  17. a teacher

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    Dec 17, 2014

    So the fact that she can't get an art scholarship means that doing well in art is less important than math? The whole problem is that you have bought into the mainstream way of thinking that education is a process of isolated disciplines that have a ranking order, tied to hedging bets on economic prosperity.
     
  18. a teacher

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    Dec 17, 2014

    You make a good point. I've already decided that next semester I will have them use analysis handouts where they will respond to certain things (in writing, of course) in the art, at the same time using proper vocabulary while homing in on the most important points of analysis.

    To me that's a good way of avoiding all the English class hassle of having to teach writing.
     
  19. a teacher

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    Dec 17, 2014

    You can't say if your school is high or low performing? That suggests it's low.
     
  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Dec 18, 2014

    Excuse me? When I said that we don't rank schools, it meant that we don't rank schools.

    However, because I refuse to have my children's (and my students') success minimized by a stranger, here are a few numbers for you (based on close to 40 000 secondary students in the district):
    - graduation rate is over 90% across the district (higher at my children's school)
    - over 90% reached the provincial standard in math
    - 90% reached the provincial standard in Literacy skills
    - these numbers include Special Education Students and English Language Learners

    Those numbers don't equate to low performing to me, but, as I said, those aren't labels we use here.

    It never surprises me that the public holds teachers in such low esteem when we do the same to each other.
     
  21. greendream

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    Dec 18, 2014

    a teacher, it's fine to have your opinions about what skills we should value as a society, but realize that your students are headed into the world that exists, not the one you want to exist. They're headed into the world where the graduation test covers English and Math. Where the SAT covers the same. Where math and English skills will be tested again and again in their college curriculum. If you want to change that, the way to do it is get on a school board or get a job with the Department of Education--not to lecture other teachers.
     
  22. a teacher

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    You seem to be missing the basic point. Thinking of education the way beuracrats do limits the quality of the education provided. The truth of the matter is that students enrolled in the arts do better across all content areas as well as exercising parts of their intellect and utilize skills not reached by "core" classes.
     
  23. a teacher

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    You are misunderstanding me. It sounds like your school is high-performing. Whether your district uses that as a label is not the point. It's in fact a very simple question.

    Your statement about holding teachers in low-esteem has no place in the discussion.
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

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    Dec 18, 2014

    a teacher, are you as condescending to your colleagues in real life as you have been in this thread?
     
  25. a teacher

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    Dec 19, 2014

    Haven't been...Please don't be miss sensitive. Too many of those to stand anymore.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

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    Dec 19, 2014

    Behold a negative affirmative.
     
  27. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Dec 19, 2014

    This isn't an opinion I would share with students, parents or administrators. Homework, when assigned, should be for reinforcement of concepts already learned, not to cover material. Your job, as the teacher, is to figure out how to teach all that needs to be taught during your class periods.

    No one has indicated that students shouldn't have exposure to the arts.
     
  28. HistoryVA

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    Dec 19, 2014

    To be blunt, in the lives of the majority of students, it is. Art is fun, art creates well-rounded adults, but except for the few truly talented, art doesn't get you into college. Art doesn't get you a degree and art doesn't get you a job. Perhaps art is not less important in the grand scheme of the world, but in the lives of these students at this point in their lives, yes, doing well in art is probably less important than math. If I had a child who couldn't keep up with all of her classes, I'd have her drop/fail art a million times before I'd let her drop/fail math/science/English/history/foreign language. And if I couldn't keep up with my homework, yours would be the very first sacrifice.

    I'm sure that's frustrating to realize, but if you're determined to force students to see your class on the same level as their core requirements, you will probably be disappointed.
     
  29. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I teach English, including an elective some years. I NEVER assign homework that is due the next day unless it's something they worked on in class and most finished up. Our girls basketball team just played a game that was an hour and a half away. They didn't get home until 11:30. Is it their choice to play a sport? Yes, but this was out of conference game that they had no choice in. I also believe being on a team or playing a sport can help you become more well-rounded.

    I get assignments emailed to me at 3 or 4 am pretty routinely. It makes me sad for them. I try my best to limit their work. They just had nine days to do a five paragraph research essay. I have 11 IEP students out of 38 students in my one grade level. They struggle just to write complete sentences. They definitely wouldn't do your assignments.

    When I teach electives, I try not to assign homework. First of all, they're at school long enough during the day. Second of all, I know how much homework they're getting.

    This year, my sophomores just aren't doing the reading outside of class, so I decided to do the reading mostly in class. I had to change to fit the needs of my students.

    My school has a 100% graduation rate most years, and 90%+ pass all the graduation tests. I'm not at a low-performing school.
     
  30. MsMar

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    Dec 19, 2014

    I taught electives (Intro to Food, Nutrition, and Baking and Confections) at a large low performing high school for 3 years. I assigned homework once a week, a small 10 point assignment related to what we we doing in class, usually an article and a written reflection. I'd estimate 50% to 75% of the students did it.

    My students regularly moaned about the in class reading we did and would always ask "are we cooking today?" Why? Because they chose my class as something more relaxing, hands on, and well, fun, than their core classes. I got used to telling them, "nope, not cooking today, it's a project/reading/writing day" and we moved on. Did I get annoyed with the fact that they didn't want to do the more academic work in my class? Of course. Did I understand why they moaned? Of course. They're 15-17 year olds, of course they'd rather MAKE muffins than read and learn about how baking soda and baking powder differ. My goal in my class was to prepare students to make their own meals at home, become familiar with the kitchen and various cooking and baking styles, and to learn about nutrition.

    While you clearly are passionate about the written work and its importance, in your intro level art classes the students want to DO art, not read and write about it. You can choose to go that route or not, it's your class, but that's just how it is. And yes, students will say to each other "Don't take A Teacher's art class, you have to spend way too much time on writing and it's not a lot of the hands on fun stuff." Students choose their electives based on what will be fun. You might not like that, but that just is how it is. You feel art is more important than English, Science, Math and pretty much everything else (disclaimer - I haven't re-read everything you wrote, this is just what I'm recalling you saying without going back and rereading.). Wouldn't you then want to expose as many students as possible to art? Do you think your current classes are attracting students and making them jump at the chance to take it?

    My son attends a top 5 school in the state. He was just able to sign up for an elective as his health class ends at the end of the semester. He has chosen 3-D art. Why did he choose it? He said "it sounded cool and fun." If it turns out it's not "cool and fun" he'll spread the word to his friends to not take the class if they talk about taking it in the future. He is without a doubt going to college as are 99% of his peers. If this is a hard class with a lot of homework that will hurt his GPA, you bet we'll drop it.

    Teaching high school was not a good fit for me. While I had fine rapport with the students, it was a huge challenge working in a challenging school and I definitely got the lower end students in my class. But I did my best to make it work for both me and them. I balanced the book work and reading with hands on labs, I GOT that students preferred the labs, I assigned limited homework and made the project work be able to be done in class, and I had good rapport with the students. As a result my classes remained "popular" and more students chose it than we had space for. While our department was cut from 12 teachers to 8 in the time I was there, it was purely budget based, not student interest based. (Though the dept did have to cut some less popular classes like gerontology when the dept was reduced in size).

    So, there you have my experience as a teacher in a low performing school.

    I think the best advice you have been given is to make the written work be in class work if you feel that's the most important part of the class. Keep in mind WHY the students chose your class and while you certainly shouldn't "dumb down" your classes to something that no longer follows the curriculum and is just "fun and games" you definitely need a balance of fun with the rigor or students will stop signing up for your classes.
     
  31. kcjo13

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    Dec 19, 2014

    You know, it just occurred to me-if you're that dead set on having written homework, why not partner up with the English teacher? Work together to meet objectives in both classes.
     

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