I have had it with irresponsible students.

Discussion in 'High School' started by midwestteacher, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    Feb 19, 2010

    I have so many kids coming into class without pencils or paper. Then they wander around the room and just pick up pencils where ever they find them - my desk, my computer station, someone else's desk, etc. I sent an email to a parent the other day and told them that their child hadn't done any work for the past two days and "It ain't my fault ain't no one got a pencil for me to use." I have started giving tardies when they don't have a writing utensil, so they just steal it with more stealth. I put all my writing utensils away in the cabinet except for the one I am using and they started going into the cabinet. Last weekend, I went to Menards and bought a hasp and padlock set and locked the cabinet up. This seems to have worked!
    And on the plus side - it has also stopped my co-worker from coming in here and stealing my videos for his classes to watch because "We don't have anything left to do today."
     
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  3. SunnyGal

    SunnyGal Companion

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    Feb 19, 2010

    I hear ya! It's always the same kids, too. I'll give out a pencil to them, they won't give it back, and then they won't have a pencil the next day.

    My class is reading Julius Caesar right now, and they have to complete a study guide as we read. Today I allowed them to use their study guide on a quiz. This girl who never has her textbook or anything raised her hand and said, "Um, I can't take the quiz. I don't have my study guide." I just looked at her and said, "So sorry" and handed her a quiz. She turned it in blank.
     
  4. mrduck12

    mrduck12 Companion

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    Feb 20, 2010

    I can go one better!

    I have a handful of students that take my dry erase markers! For what possible reason, I have no idea.

    Several other teachers have complained about this as well. I don't get it.

    I keep everything locked in my desk or my cabinet now.
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My rule was always to charge a "rental fee" for borrowing a pencil. They had to give me their left shoe and would get it back when the pencil was returned. Why the left? Why not? My dad taught me that trick and we both always got our pencils back. In addition, those shoeless kids wouldn't wander around the class as much. However, some of them really needed to clean their socks a little better. :whistle:
     
  6. Blaster

    Blaster Rookie

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    I have a vase with flowers and attached to the flowers are pens and pencils. The students give me something of value ( shoe, coat, etc). When I get back the flower they get back their item.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 20, 2010

    I would never, ever, ask a kid to surrender a shoe for any reason.

    Should the fire alarm go off, that student is likely to slip on a floor or step on something. (And, no, I don't necessarily mean a planned fire drill.)

    The next time you have to keep kids for dentention, give them a job: collect 10 pens/pencils from the floor around the building. Put them in a bin on your desk to be used.

    I wouldn't waste valuable teaching time on this.
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Me neither.
    I have an area where spare pencils and paper are available. I go through about 10 pencils a year and maybe 1 pack of paper. Kids use it when they need it.

    Granted, all of my students have laptops, we use them as much as possible.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Wow...think about how you are hindering student learning through refusing to share resources...instead of a shoe (I agree with the fire drill/safety concerns associated with this), you could have them leave their cell phone/ipod/ballcap...Pencils are cheap, learning is invaluable.

    Keep track of how many times a student comes unprepared and dock them for it on their report card or give demerits or detention, but give them a pencil so they don't fall behind....

    You can get a box of 144 golf pencils at Office Depot for $7.99...would they 'steal' those?

    I'm all for locking up your teaching tools: videos, files, calculators, what have you...pencils, though? No.
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This has always been a battle I choose not to fight. I have a bin of pencils and a stack of paper available for students to use if they need it. I use some of my supply budget to purchase pencils and I also walk the halls at night after the caretakers sweep out the rooms and pick up the pencils that are lying there. I do talk, privately, to the "frequent flyers", but provide what they need so that they are able to use all of their time in class effectively.
     
  11. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Feb 20, 2010

    I get really fed up with this every year, too. Last year I went through my entire supply of pencils and paper. I didn't want to buy any more for my students to permanently borrow, so I offered my students extra credit if they could bring in a dozen pens or pencils. My freshman and sophomores (the perennial borrowers) didn't bring in any. My physics classes brought in so many I am still using them! And they rarely had to borrow anything.

    I do have a couple kids who daily need a pencil. I only put out about 10 or so pencils every Monday. Once they are gone, there are no more from me for the week. They manage to get supplies from others.
     
  12. beatlebug731

    beatlebug731 Comrade

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    Feb 20, 2010

    When I was student teaching in my special ed resource placement, my students would "forget" their pencils and use that as an excuse to get up. So, I brought in a bunch of extra pencils that I had lying around and kept them behind my chair. Next time anyone asked to get up and get a pencil, I just gave them one of mine. After that, they stopped "forgetting" their pencils! :)
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I remember reading here back in the day about using golf pencils to solve this problem. Students would have access to pencils, but teachers wouldn't have to spend a whole lot of money--a big box of golf pencils costs only a couple of bucks. Students don't seem to love writing with those tiny pencils, so they usually manage to find their own somehow.
     
  14. Jenstc2003

    Jenstc2003 Companion

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    Hmmm... golf pencils! I love that idea! I know I always hate working with a short pencil (so it is essentially only giving them what they NEED), but I also get VERY sick of donating pencils to students when I'm in a class subbing, so that's a pretty genius idea. I have gone through an entire box in a week before, and I get VERY tired of hearing the old "I don't got no pencil" and "I don't got no paper" (which is almost always how it's put) excuses. I do believe I'm going to try the golf pencils!

    As for making them give you a shoe? I wouldn't do that just for sanitary reasons- as well as the possibility of a real fire- but having them give some other thing of value is also something I will consider.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think the shoe thing is as gross as it is potentially dangerous. A) Students sometimes have stinky feet, and B) I HATE FEET. Gross.
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You're probably right. If I ever go back to teaching traditionally, I shouldn't go back to that practice.
     
  17. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Feb 21, 2010

    haha i bought golf pencils for my kids one time, and it all went fine until the math teacher started reprimanding the kids for stealing the pencils out of the compasses in math. i had to go ease tensions....
     
  18. Historyteaching

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    Feb 21, 2010

    I always start out the year with pencils..usually go to the back to school sales and grab a couple hundred (in packs of course) They are gone by the end of the first 9 weeks and I don't buy anymore. Its the same students every day. If they can't find one from a classmate, they use a colored pencil.

    I was sending them down to the student center-but I think the careworkers started wondering because they asked for a list of names. I did it because alot of them didn't want to walk down to get it-they just wanted to sit in class and do nothing. Walking ALL the way down the stairs and ALL the way back up was too much exterion on their part (especially since some just walked UP the stairs to my classroom)

    I like the golf pencils idea and may try that. Once those are gone-they are gone. What ticks me off is something I saw this past Friday. A student break a perfectly good pencil in half....:mad: after the class was over with and throw it on the floor as he walked out the door at the end of the day.

    I usually don't have a problem with paper-its writing utensils. What also gets me-we will be 20 minutes into class and a student will be sitting there not doing anything. I ask....why aren't you working..the response ...I don't have anything to write with...Me: Did you ask anyone? Them: No. Me: Why not? Them: I dont know. (Sure you do, its called you don't want to do work) Me: DOES ANYONE HAVE A WRITING UTENSIL FOR ??? Either someone supplies or that person is using a very nice colored pencil :)
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 21, 2010

    Great minds think alike- I suggested this a few posts before you...Office Depot, 144 pencils, $7.99.:D
     
  20. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    Feb 22, 2010

    I used the golf pencils for a bit, but have given up that practice. If I see a pencil laying on the floor, I will offer them that one. Actually happens quite a few times. There always seems to be pens and pencils on the floor.

    I tell the students that my taxes pay for the school building, everything in it, and salaries. Mom and dad pay for pencils/pens, paper, and backpacks.

    They need to begin to get use to responsibility. Get to potential job site and have to fill out an application: "I don't have a pen." That will not work getting hired and they are learning it will not work in my class.
     
  21. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Feb 22, 2010

    I second (or third or fourth or fifth at this point) the use of golf pencils. You can get them even cheaper if you order them online from For Teacher's Only
     
  22. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Feb 23, 2010

    I'm always letting kids use my colored pencils. They hate it - but it gets the job done. Today I had trouble with kids not bringing anything because of standardized tests with short classes at the end of the day. "I didn't think we would do anything" Hello?! Then why did you even bother to come?
     
  23. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    It is school policy that all students be prepared for class. If they are not prepared, they are to receive a tardy. Four tardies = 1 day ISS and a day of ISS for any tardy after that. Tardies go by semester. I don't think it is my responsibilty to supply sixty kids a day with paper and pencils. I have two children and they have paper and pencils at school. It is not that these kids are too poor to afford a pencil and a pack of paper, they are too lazy to bring it too class. I also provide a cubby for each student to keep their textbook, notebook, and other items. To get to my room, they have to walk by the pencil vending machine. I am tired of coddling 16 year olds that are too irresponsible to bring something to write with to class.
     
  24. newbie1234

    newbie1234 Companion

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    The pencils add up. :mad: I teach high school, so I have around 130 students. I've spent almost $200 just on pencils this year, and the year isn't over yet.

    The golf pencils are a good idea for everyday use, but the biggest problems are quiz/test days when the students need number two pencils and erasers. Most of the students simply don't come prepared for tests. I can just imagine the parent conferences I'd have if I refused to supply a student with pencil that has an eraser on test day. I only have a few students who are economically disadvantaged, and they always come prepared with supplies. Unsurprisingly, it's the wealthy, spoiled kids who aren't held accountable at home and aren't taught the value of a dollar.

    I've started locking up my pencils, and if a student wants to borrow one, I dole it out personally. I simply can't afford to leave the pencils out for anyone to take as I did for most of the year. On one test day, 20 out of 24 students in my first block class "borrowed" pencils and didn't return them. As someone else mentioned, it's not my job to coddle 16-year-olds who are getting their driver's licenses, are old enough to work, and want to be treated like adults.
     
  25. kickchick2000

    kickchick2000 Rookie

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    I actually give out giant pencils to my high schoolers. The pencils are about 14 inches long but they work. The kids hate using them as they are heavy so they usually come prepared plus I always get them back.
     
  26. newbie1234

    newbie1234 Companion

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    The big pencil idea is great. Now that they actually have to ask to borrow a pencil, I've only had to loan out one. I feel bad about limiting the supplies in the classroom, but I just can't afford it anymore. I know I'm going to have to pay for copy paper soon, and that's a pretty big expense on its own.
     
  27. Toak

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    Just because no one else has commented on it, some kids do huff dry erase markers and that may be why they are taking them
     
  28. Mr. A

    Mr. A Rookie

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    I agree that what you say here SHOULD be true.

    However, it isn't.

    Also, tardiness is not the same as lack of preparedness. Unless a kid is late for class, it's not appropriate to call him late for class.

    Expect some parent to someday notice this.

    The shoe idea was great!
     
  29. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    I might try the giant pencils, although I have been having success this year with the golf pencils. Students don't like them much and so are more likely to return them. But a couple of years ago, I had students who would take them and then just throw them on the floor outside the classroom, because they didn't seem valuable at all.

    I pick up, or have my detention kids pick up, pencils and pens in the classroom. It bothers me to see so many perfectly good pencils swept up in piles with the trash every day in the hall when I'm on my way home.

    Once I had a student who did nothing, would never have a pencil, would often break the pencil I gave him. I had a conference one morning with him and his mother at which she said she always kept him supplied with pencils and paper. I said, let's see if he has one now. As usual, he had nothing with him--he had left his backpack in the car. She made him go and get it. She promised that he would have a pencil every day. I pointed out that he had not agreed to this--she finally got him to say that he would bring a pencil. Our conference ended; fifteen minutes went by and school started. He came into my first period class with no pencil, no paper, no backpack!

    About a month later, he was up for expulsion. I never found out why, but I have to say, I was relieved not to have to deal with him any more.
     
  30. looneyteachr

    looneyteachr Companion

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    have you ever been in a workshop or meeting and had to ask someone for a pen? hmmmm - at the beginning of the year when all kids want a fresh start and to be the teacher's pet - make a list of class items you need and give extra credit for bringing in (hand sanitizer, pencils, paper, kleenex, markers) - i had enough of everything until the last week of school! i have a teacher friend who lets kids use notes/guides on all tests - in my opinion big mistake! engage them in the study of what they're learning so they don't need a study guide! when reading stuff like caesar have u used fishbowl activities? have kids make photostories about their favorite acts? have gallery walks with controversial questions where kids can give opinions but must back up with what happened in the story?

    today's kids have alot more going on than whether or not they have a pencil - stop sweating the small stuff!
     
  31. juhesihcaaa

    juhesihcaaa Rookie

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    ^^ THIS

    You are the kind of teacher that I always admired in school. In my high school the teachers that left stuff out without question tended to not have many problems getting the stuff back.
    One thing I'm quickly learning in my classes is that, as educators, we have to learn which battles to fight and this isn't one of them.

    OP: Don't assume that all students who don't come prepared are irresponsible. Have you considered that maybe his or her parents cannot afford the supplies or just aren't attentive? Putting students into broad categories is a very dangerous road.

    BTW the shoe thing, as a student, is horrible. I was always a great student but one day I was running very late and ran out the door and forgot everything. A teacher wanted a shoe for a pencil so I gave her one. Later in the class a girl with 4 inch heals stepped on my toe and broke it. It's dangerous, unsanitary and weird (not to mention, possibly smelly). Try taking a pack of pencils and taping them with some very bright electrical tape. Most of the times, students will forget they borrowed something. Something very brightly colored will be remembered more. After a while, other teachers will realize the pencil with tape is yours and will take it and return it.
     
  32. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 18, 2010

    The OP addressed this in the followup post on this page. I trust that, by the second half of the year, (s)he can distinguish which students are disadvantaged and which ones are irresponsible. That isn't putting students in a broad category, that is simply stating an observed fact.

    I also don't believe teaching kids to accept responsibility is a hindrance to learning. Chances are, learning to stop making excuses and being prepared are lessons they will use far more often than the content being covered that day.
     
  33. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    May 19, 2010

    I know my students. We do home visits in the summer and I know most of their parents by name. I also give all my students pencils as gifts on Halloween, Christmas, Valentines, and Easter. You don't even want to know how many of these pencils I find on the floor after class - usually broken.
    One of the goals of education is to teach students to be responsible adults. Giving them everything and not requiring them to be responsible for even the simplest thing is not doing these kids any favors. Their employer isn't going to care about excuses - don't show up with what you need to work and you won't have a job to worry about.
    It goes right along with attendance and tardies. The kids think we shouldn't take attendance or count tardies against them. Our school policy is four absences a semester and then you start to get zeros for missed classwork. Absences are excused with a doctor's note, for a funeral, etc. If you don't show up at work, you get fired. If you are late for work six times, you get fired. These are life lessons that these kids aren't getting at home and need to get somewhere.
     
  34. mandagap06

    mandagap06 Devotee

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    May 19, 2010

    I like the golf pencil idea ,except one problem WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT THE ERASERS??!?
     
  35. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    That is the whole point of the golf pencil. It doesn't have to be convenient for them, but they do have something to write with.
     
  36. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 19, 2010

    A suggestion for pencils:
    -- Don't make a fuss about it, honestly, because I have seen some really poor kids not have any pencils and they feel awful if they're called out on it.
    -- I have done the shoe idea before, but really my 5th graders feet stink so horribly and I do believe it may be a safety issue, so I don't normally do that.
    -- What works well: Go to a party store or a dollar store and buy the EXTRA HUGE pencils-- buy like 5 of them. If a student forgets, they can use the huge pencil for the class. And you will get it back because its not like they can slip out of class with it. It also tires the student's hand out fast and they might just rethink wanting to use one of those again.

    Kids will be kids--- I think its important to pick which battles are really important.
     
  37. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree that teaching responsibility is important; those lessons occur in my class every day. As far as getting ready for the "real world"--today I went into a meeting with my principal, but forgot to grab my pen on the way down. I could have gone back to my classroom to get one, but she happily loaned me one of hers and we were able to get right down to work.
     
  38. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I too have decided to not fight the pencil battle. I stock up at Staples when they're a penny a pack. I started the -08 school year with 750 pencils (75 packs which had cost me 75 cents) and am now down to about 10 packs. A few will return the pencil at the end of class, most don't. I'd just rather give the pencil and not have it be an excuse to not do work. Same with paper, I buy notebooks when they're on sale for a quarter and then when a student needs paper they can rip a page out. I'd just rather do that than have them take it from a prepared student who'll run out of paper quickly as all the unprepared students bug him/her for paper. Sure the student is supposed to be prepared for class, but this is one battle I choose to not fight.

    If Staples doesn't do the penny sale (or stops letting teachers get 25) I'll do golf pencils next year.
     
  39. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I do a variety of different things to make sure my students are prepared. First, I have a class store where they can buy pencils. I collect pencils from the floor and hallway and put them in a basket in my class that students can take from. If a student doesn't have money and the basket is empty, then they ask classmates to borrow a pencil. If all else fails I will let them borrow a golf pencil.
     
  40. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    I don't fight the pen/pencil battle, either. I keep a ready supply of loaners. Also, the textbooks stay in the room since they won't bring them to class if I sign them out.
     
  41. DallasLady

    DallasLady Rookie

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    I know other teachers who do the shoe thing, but I think it's gross. I always had them give me their school ID as collateral. Kids still borrowed, but I always got them back. Sometimes, I would get back a different pencil than I gave them, LOL!

    I like the golf pencil idea! I'm going to look into that.
     

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