First teaching job is at a continuation school.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by bbelton60, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. bbelton60

    bbelton60 Rookie

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    Feb 6, 2015

    After 2 weeks, I have multiple students with a 0% in the class. Same students have 0% in all their other classes.

    Their parents obviously stopped caring a long time ago. Why do they even bother coming to school?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Feb 7, 2015

    What is a continuation school?

    At my school we have several students that don't care. In one of my classes alone I have 7 students that flat out told me they have no intention of passing. Two are children of immigrants, very wealthy immigrants, that will work at their parents' convenience stores. Three have a father, mother or both in prison, and absolutely expect they'll be there too when it is their turn. One has never had a grown-up in her family graduate high school and doesn't see the point of it because the government will pay for everything anyway. I don't know the full reason for the last but he is one of eleven children by the same mother and is unsure of how many children his father has. Only two of his siblings have the same father. None of his older siblings made it past tenth grade.

    These are the reasons why some of them, and some of our other students attend school:

    breakfast and lunch is free
    Mom doesn't want them in the house and gets upset when truant officers come asking questions
    to see friends
    to deal drugs
    school is warm or cool, depending upon the season
    if they don't attend, they'll go to jail (on probation)
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 7, 2015

    Ah, sounds similar to our Credit Recovery / Life Skills schools we have around here. Some of my students use my online setting in a similar matter. I talked with a young man today who hasn't turned in a single assignment since November. I was honest about his options (passing minimally in my class, going to summer school, taking a credit recovery class in the fall), but in the end, it is up to the individual student to decide if he or she wants to move forward with school or keep repeating. We as teachers cannot force a student to engage enough to pass all classes. A parent might have that power, but again, we cannot force that parent to engage either. Hang in there and hope that something will click because of your persistence and empathy.
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Feb 7, 2015

    I teach at a continuation school. There are several types, but it's basically alternative education. Students cannot go to their regular schools because they have been expelled. The reason for expulsion varies: it can be 'smaller' issues such as truancy, or low credits. or it can be behavior issues where they finally expelled the kid.
    And it can be some extreme cases.

    At our school we have some mild cases such as truancy, but 95% of the kids are there because they were high in school, got caught with weed with intention of selling, assaulted teachers, got into fights, and most of them have been locked up and on probation (and in gangs). Almost all of our kids are ordered to come to our school. This is the last place they can go. Interestingly, we have a few every semester that comes to us by choice :) They feel safe, they like the structure, individual attention (small school) and know that they have a better chance of succeeding with us. They would just blend in and be nobodies in a high school with 3000 students.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Feb 7, 2015

    And to answer the OP question:
    they come to school for any or all of the following reasons:
    - they ordered by court and probation is checking on them. If they don't show up, they will be locked up.
    - they want to socialize with their friends
    - free meals
    - often networking: who they're going to get drunk or high with and in the sad cases, where they can sleep tonight because they're homeless, ran away from a bad situation or are kicked out of their house.

    When you're at a school like this, you have to look at your students differently. If you have a kid, comes in, puts his head down, and then when you put the paper on his desk, nicely encouraging him to do his work, he shoves the paper out of his way and yells at you "get out of my face b..ch", it's not about you. You have no idea what they're dealing with, and your assignment is the last thing on their mind.
    Obviously this doesn't excuse their behavior, and there must be a consequence and a conversation in place, but don't take it personal, because it's not about you.
     
  7. DanteLover

    DanteLover Rookie

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    Mar 1, 2015

    I taught continuation in the IE...right out of school too. It was tough. The kids know you're new to teaching...but I was also really close to their age. I had one student who was...three years younger than me since he was SPED. It also didn't help I came in at January (previous teacher went on medical leave because...they wore him down).

    You have one awesome thing on your side <No one cares>. That sounds really bad, but let me explain. The curriculum is basically up to you. Find what they're interested in. I taught English learners and I found texts (approved by the district, don't forget that piece) that grabbed their attention. It boosted their confidence and improved their reading skills, analyzing texts. Also, find interesting articles. I used this text by Harvey "Smokey" Daniels. The articles were at their reading level and it came with fun activities to do with them. You just have to vary up your instruction, catch them off guard.

    You feel less pressure since the only push is for credits. Test scores are not the main concern. Keep them occupied, out of trouble, and hope they can at least take away something useful.

    As for parent involvement...I remember sitting at parent/teacher conferences, not a single parent showed up from my classes. The next time I brought a book. :haha:

    As for your grade problem, perhaps you need to lower your expectations? 10 Point grade system they can understand. 10 points a day if they do all their work, participate, behave, etc. No homework, of course.

    Hang in there. Continuation teaching taught me a lot. Sure, I had months of crying and regrets, but it prepared me for the future. There are also days I miss it! I miss the small class sizes, the relaxed setting, and the fun activities we did.
     

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