Last Day of Class...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Ash Inc, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2014

    Is there "too strict" for the last day?
    The other day I was supplying at a high school where it was the last day of classes before their exam period. The teacher I was supplying for was apparently very strict with the students. The plans indicated that students were to silently and independently study their exam reviews and were not allowed to sit with or work with a partner. They were also not allowed to have earphones in and if I saw any ipods/electronics I was told to confiscate them and bring them to the office.
    I've supplied at this school other times, and the cell phone/ipod rules are basically based on each teacher - there isn't some school wide policy that they aren't allowed, it's just this particular teacher's rules. Most other classes allow them during appropriate times (ie. not during lessons) from my previous experiences. (I 100% respect when teachers don't want electronics and will always enforce it and support their rules, btw)

    I always follow the classroom teachers directions just as they are, but it was the LAST day. Only about 7-10 students showed up for each class. I told students what they were to be working on, but I was pretty relaxed about not letting them work with someone and didn't confiscate any electronics. (only about 2-3 students had one out... I just ignored it as they weren't causing any problems). I really hate not doing as the teacher instructed, but I felt like it was a tad too strict as a last day. I mean, there were other students roaming the halls, ducking in and out of other classes to say hi (or goodbye I guess) to their friends and other teachers, or just sort of hanging out in various places.

    All the students during my classes were in their seats and kept the noise level low, but I didn't get upset if I saw them push their desk to study with another, or if they had their ear buds in.

    Is it typical for high school teachers to be this stern with their kids on the last day of class? I've been thinking about it the last few days and wondering if I should have still followed the lesson to a T, even if it seemed unfair...
    What does the last day of class at the hs level usually look like, in your experience? Thanks!
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jun 19, 2014

    well, we have teachers that check out during the last two weeks. Then we have teachers that realize that the state set a calendar for a set number of days and didn't designate the last day as being optional. I'm one of those teachers.

    I have had semesters where the students are working HARD on the last day before exams. This past semester my students were ahead of schedule and our last day was more relaxed, filled with review games.

    I am assuming that "supplied" means "subbed." I would like you to keep two things in mind, just possibilities.

    Many teachers leave sub plans that are more strict than regular plans. This is so the sub will have fewer problems.

    Also, just because some teachers in that school allow electronics does not mean that it is not a school-wide policy. I'd say that only about 1/4 of the teachers at my school adhere to the "no electronics" rule. This is because plugging kids into something makes classroom management much easier - as I'm sure you've already learned.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jun 19, 2014

    I'm not that strict pretty much ever, but I would leave plans as such if it was the last day and I had an unknown sub. I'd hope that the sub would tell the kids what I said and then follow through.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jun 19, 2014

    It was the day before exams. They should have been reviewing. I'm not sure why other students were roaming the halls. I do not think the plans were too strict.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 19, 2014

    Is it normal to call substituting "supplying" in your district? I've only ever heard that term used in other countries.

    Teachers can do what they want. Some teachers are very strict, even on the last day. I tend to leave stricter-than-usual plans when I am absent because I think it makes it easier for my sub, who may or may not be competent when it comes to classroom management.

    When it comes to review, I prefer that my students do certain review activities on their own. The reason for this is that it gives students a better indication of where their own particular strengths and weaknesses are, which will help them when it comes to studying for their exam. It's easy to hide behind a partner who knows what he or she is doing, or even to think that you (the student) know more than you do when your partner triggers some information--but on a test when you don't have a partner, you're going to have to trigger that information yourself. I would have been a little irritated to find out that a sub ignored my instructions with regards to that.

    I'm curious about why so few students were in class. That seems strange.
     
  7. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2014

    Thank you for the response.
    Just to elaborate, I've asked in the past what the school's policy is with electronic, since I've noticed it varies from school to school. This particular school does not have any type of ban, but teachers can use their discretion.

    I actually appreciate when teacher's leave firm guidelines. I just found this particular teacher's seemed a little out of place compared to how relaxed the rest of the school seemed to be. Actually, for the first class, my schedule got shuffled around, so I ended up taking over a class about 15 minutes into the period. Another teacher at the school was covering the class until they re-shuffled things (they were short staffed today due to lack of subs). When I got there, the current teacher sitting in already had them started on their task and attendance done. Some were already sitting with buddies or had their head phones in. She made a comment about how it's the last day and barely any kids are here anyway. Not that it makes it OK, but I sort of felt like it wasn't a big deal. I guess this will be a learning experience.
     
  8. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    It's actually not uncommon for high school students to stop showing up towards the end, in my experience. I think it's because they know it's just time to study, which they can do at home.

    I think the fact that there were literally only a handful of students made me feel like it was more acceptable to be a bit relaxed. Actually, throughout the day I would see students in the hall with their back packs on, presumably heading home early to call it a day.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I've taught at three high schools and attended two. It's definitely NOT common around here for kids to stop showing up. If anything, attendance is best the first two weeks and last two weeks.
     
  10. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    I actually find this really interesting. As a student, I remember attendance being a bit lower towards the end, but not as bad as it seems now.

    I taught at a high school a year ago to cover for a maternity leave. The attendance the last week was incredibly low. I remember the second last day having about 1/3 to 1/2 of students show up, and only a small handful on the last day itself. I'm talking 3-6 in each class. That's how it was in pretty much all the classes. I wasn't remotely surprised to see such a low turn out for the classes I had the other day considering it was the last day.

    I teach in a middle class area. Not sure if that has an influence one way or another?
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 19, 2014

    Same here.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

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    I teach in a middle class area. Attendance does not (and did not when I was in school) drop off right before exams. Now, the two days or so AFTER exams it did.

    I'd be surprised that middle class students would be more likely to do this. In my experience those are the students that are the most concerned about soaking up anything they can before an exam.
     
  13. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    Just out of curiosity, how far in advance do you start reviewing with the students? In my district, it's basically set up so that two weeks prior to the exam period is a week set aside for students to work on culminating projects for their classes. That means all lessons, tests, etc are completed before this point. Students are given their projects and have a week of class to complete (and are expected to work on them at home as well, of course). This typically counts for about 15% of their final grade. The next week (which is the last week before exams) is set aside for students to do their reviews.

    Do your districts typically have a week of review before the exam period as well? I'm really curious why this is so different where I teach. Could it be that students are checking out after spending a few days straight of just sitting in desks doing reviews?

    I appreciate the feedback I've been getting.
    If the last days right up to the exam were typical of any other day, then I would agree with going hard till the end. But I'm so use to there only being a handful of kids who make an appearance, that it seems hard to be overly strict to the 5 or 6 students out of 20 something who bothered to show (and I overhear a lot of them mentioning that they might leave 'soon')
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

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    Jun 19, 2014

    It depends upon the subject and grade level. Typically teachers in my discipline do not have enough days in the semester to get through all of the standards as is. Some teachers only have one day of review before an exam.

    I tend to start reviewing with my lower students three weeks before exams. Only about ten minutes a day or every other day. With my advanced students they might get one day of review games. There is no school-wide expectation.
     
  15. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    I like the idea of spending a small chunk of time each day preparing for the exam a few weeks in advance.

    Do you think the fact that students get their exam review a week before exams start and are given the week to do the review and study their notes accounts for such a large drop off in attendance towards the end?

    I think students know there's "no point" in going past a certain date. Once they get their review, have time to look it over and ask any questions they need, it's pretty much just study periods for several days straight (in all classes). They will obviously know there's not going to be any new information taught and they already have everything they need for the exams.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

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    If they aren't going to be held accountable for their absences and won't receive any educational benefit, then why should they attend?

    My students get a review packet about a week beforehand too. My advanced classes can do it if they like or not. It is on them. I expect them to study on their own but figure they'll pay the price if they don't. I also expect them to learn the new material we're covering those last few days.

    However, none of these things justify students roaming the halls and popping in to say hello. That is a school-wide discipline issue.
     
  17. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    I agree that students shouldn't be roaming around the halls. It was the same couple groups I would frequently see passing by, but they didn't disrupt my classes so I didn't get too concerned. As a sub only there for the day, I didn't think it was my place to be the teacher to confront them, especially if no one else was addressing it (or they may point blank be allowing it)

    Do you find that your students still attended classes, even after they received their review packets, or do you experience the same drop that I do?
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    School is not optional, even during review week. Those students were truant, plain and simple.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

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    As I said before, I see no drop the last week of classes. The rare occasion is when I have a student that has exceeded the district absence allowance and is failing miserably. Then they just check out of all of their classes because there is no possibility of passing.
     
  20. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    I don't deny that. But at the end of the day if students aren't showing up a teacher can't exactly force them to be at school. And as I mentioned, the last 2 weeks are structured so it's one week of culminating, one week of review. There's no more tests or lessons or anything that goes towards their regular term mark. Which takes away a lot of their incentive.

    I think it's a large snowball effect, where a few students don't go, so their friends skip. Then others realize that half the class is not going to be there, so what's the point? I actually had a student the other day who's mom called the office to have her excused so she could leave. The student mentioned that she probably will be getting called out soon because she had texted her at the end of the previous period letting telling her mom that there's barely anyone at school and asked if she could leave as well.

    I wish there was a way to hold them more accountable, but most students seem to check out by the last couple days. I think the only real way to fix this would be school wide, where there's a way to still collect marks up until the end. That way only a day or two will be used for review, and the rest can still be to do work students are accountable for.
     
  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Teachers can't force them to be there, true. Administrators can hand out consequences, though. I agree with whoever said that this is a school-wide discipline issue.
     

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