"NOT MY FAULT THAT THE KIDS DON'T WANT TO LEARN" Were these colleagues out of line?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by miatorres, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    I'm interested about what you think about this situation.

    I teach at an inner city high school. Sadly, students have the reputation for being apathetic towards school. Two teachers exclaim openly, "IT'S NOT MY FAULT THAT THE KIDS DON'T WANT TO LEARN!" The reason why statements like this come up is because other colleagues who have not taught here for more than 3 years think that it's the teachers who cause the high dropout rate.

    As I mentioned in this thread question, were these colleages out of line for expressing this? And do you ever feel the way that they do?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I do sometimes feel frustrated when it appears that my students don't want to learn and I want to just give up. But then, that part of me that is the teacher and that really cares about the future of these kids kicks in and I try to figure out if there is anything that I can do to break through. Often, I have found that the kids who are the loudest about not wanting to learn are those that have given up because they feel that they can't learn. I can't reach them all, but every one I do is one less drop-out.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    miatorres, help me out, please. Two teachers are saying it's not their fault that the kids don't want to learn... but it sounds like you're saying that others on staff think the two teachers bear some share of the blame. Is that what you mean, or have I misunderstood?
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think it depends on the situation.

    It's completely normal to get frustrated when faced with apathetic kids. Expressing those feelings in the faculty room on an occasional basis is probably just healthy venting; it keeps them from going home and kicking the dog or fighting with their spouses.

    But those words should NEVER be uttered in the hearing of students, their parents or anyone but a member of the school faculty. And they should not become a mantra or an all purpose excuse not to do the job for which you were hired.
     
  6. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007

    I think that we have to keep in mind that we won't "touch" every kid every year. But that doesn't mean you give up on them. You keep trying all year long, but don't beat your head against the wall if your usual 3 kids never come around. Hopefully, if you can't reach them, another teacher will later on.

    The best teachers never give up on a kid even if to no avail. They do everything in their power to get those kids the resources/motivation needed and that may require seeking advice from colleagues or teaching from a very bizarre/creative/unique perspective. What can YOU do differently that none of their other teachers have tried?

    It's about balancing between persistence and realizing there are some things that are simply out of your control. It's hard for me to even take this in...I tend to put on my red cape and aspire to become SUPERTEACHER!
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    What I got from the statement was that some newbie teachers were expressing a general concern for the high drop out rate and were stating that some of it could be attributed to the teachers not doing their job. The collegues weren't directing their comments at anyone in particular. THEN two teachers who were maybe a part of the conversation or at least heard the conversation were generally feeling frustrated and defensive. Perhaps they even thought the collegues were making comments without experiencing their side (over time) made the comment above. Kinda like we all do in retaliation to the NCLB sometimes. I never saw it mentioned that the teacher making the comment said it in front of a student.
     
  8. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jul 26, 2007

    I say "IT'S NOT MY FAULT THAT THE KIDS DON'T WANT TO LEARN!" all the time nothing wrong in saying it. My job is to try to change their minds and understand I may not do it.

    I use the words from the first stanza of
    The Serenity Prayer

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.


    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.
    Amen.

    Whether you believe in God or not the words still will help you.​
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I say the first part of that all the time and sometimes it upsets me because when I'm the most stressed I can't remember the words of that familiar phrases as well as I want to. But in the end, it brings peace. Amazingly I didn't know it had more to the prayer. Thanks!
     
  10. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I don't think there is anything wrong for a teacher to feel like this. Anyone that has ever sat in a classroom full of blank stares knows that it can be exhausting and emotionally draining. Yes, teachers have a responsiblilty to teach and not give up on their students; however, students also have the responsiblity to participate in learning! Teachers can not do it alone! You know the expression, you can lead a horse to water........ well, it is the truth.

    I don't think any teacher starts off ( at least I hope not) thinking this way, but when the pressure is always on the teacher it can be a grueling task. As someone else mentioned, this should not be an excuse but it certainly is understandable.
     
  11. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    I think the main thing we all have to remember is that we are called "Teach-ers" but we should really be called "Learning-Coordinators".

    It really isn't our job to "teach", it is our job to help students "learn".

    There's a big difference.

    Kelly :)
     
  12. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007


    I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. There are 2 teachers who say that it's not their fault that kids don't want to learn. Then there are some other teachers who say that if kids don't want to learn, then it's the teacher's fault.
     
  13. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    This is frustrating what the other teachers are saying that no matter what the student does it is the teacher's fault.
    Thus relieving the students from personal responsibility.

    It is the teacher's responsibility to do everything that can possible be done to guide, escort, direct, lead, pilot, route, shepherd, steer, or lead a student to learning. If a teacher has done this and the student still resists learning the teacher has not failed the student has!
     
  14. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jul 26, 2007

     
  15. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    What a great response! In my school that I described about the dropout rate, the teachers that I have seen go above and beyond to reach students who are reluctant, as well as all of their students. In my opinion, you hit it on the nail - "If the student still resists learning, the teacher has not failed - the student has!"

     
  16. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    That last part that you pointed out the question of whether a teacher ever said, "It's not my fault..." IN FRONT OF A STUDENT reminded me that I should also point out what else continues to happen at our school. There have been a few times when I heard a teacher say that when a kid who is failing all of his/her classes complains how he or she didn't learn anything; then the teacher would say, "Well, it's your fault, not mine."
     
  17. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    Sometimes all you can do is plant the seed and hope it grows. Someone else may have to do the watering, fertilizing, cultivating. And another may reap the harvest. It's a group effort. It's your fault if you don't do your part. It's the student's fault if he/she doesn't do theirs.
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    We also maybe need to be wiser in how we handle the feeling of not knowing - we need to normalize that feeling, perhaps, help kids realize that that squirmy feeling goes with the territory, and if one waits it out a bit it generally subsides enough that one can then ask the questions one needs to ask.
     
  19. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    I do have to ask who does the oversight for students? As a single subject teacher you my not know a student is failing other subjects.
    So who fails the student then?

    I think you should let a student know you have tried your best and tell them "It's not my fault...".
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    By which I mean, we need to be doing this with younger kids - seems to me that one reason that older kids buy out of school is discomfort, and often it's of just this sort.
     
  21. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Teachers open doors, but students must walk through.


    It may not be a teacher's fault if a student doesn't want to learn, but it is the teacher's responsibility to interest the student in learning.
     
  22. shelceygirl

    shelceygirl Rookie

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    In a word, yes. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of line.

    Look, all we can do is what we can do in the hours the kids are in class. We can boo hoo about lack of family support, poverty, poor work ethics and all the big bad nasties out in the world.

    It's your classroom. If you are getting blank stares, it's your fault. You find a way to reach kids, or you fail. If you don't like the demographics of your school, you move on.

    I cannot stand the "It's not my fault. I taught it, the kids just didn't learn it" mentality.
     
  23. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Not a mentality a fact! So you must be sitting down.
    In my 34 years of teaching I have gone the extra mile for many students (being a shop teacher I could surprise some students by tutoring them in Math) I have had after school help time. Kids would come to my shop and work because I would help and they felt safe in my room (we had sharp tools and we know how to use them).:toofunny: They knew they could come to my room and I would get on their case for not doing an assignment from another class and I'd make them sit down and do it. Kids respect you if you kick butt some times.
    One time I was walking down the hall about to turn the corner and I heard "Mr. P is a Jackass", Another student said "no he isn't he stays after school and help the (Body Part)s like you, how do you think I pass my math test last week" I did an about face and almost ran back to my classroom I got back into it when they turned the corner. the 2 student entered my room and the one who said I was a barnyard animal said " Mr. P you don't like me do you?" The other bay said "he failing math and he is a (Body Part)"
    I admonished the second boy and said to the first "you know I almost became a math teacher want me to look at your work?"
    well needless to say he sat down and we went over the last 2 weeks of math (then stayed the next two days after school) his next test he passed with a High C the next test he got a B" I then made a bargain with his math teacher I'd take his next weeks morning duty if he would retest the kid on what he failed (it was hard bargaining, I hate duty) He did and the kid passed! the kid found out I had bargained the duty deal and he brought me Hot cholate and donuts the next time I had morning duty. I almost cried (this was in the earl 1980s and men still didn't cry) this is one of the few student I have ever received an invitation to a College graduation from. (dang I am tearing up just remembering this.)

    BUT
    there are the 1% to 10% who for some reason will not or can not do it, for the ones who will not do it it is quite alright to say "It's not my fault." Why?
    Because it is the student's fault and the sooner they hear that it is no ones fault but theirs, the sooner they just might get to work for them selves
    You can not kill yourself trying to be DON QUIXOTE some times you have to be SANCHO PANZA
    :2cents: :2cents:
    Keep the change
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2007
  24. shelceygirl

    shelceygirl Rookie

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    Irish Dave, I agree, there is a small percentage of kids for whatever reason, don't make progress. Could be maturity, could be chaos, whatever. I just can't stand it when teachers paint all of their students with a broad "these kids won't learn" brush and fail to examine their own classroom practices.

    You sound like a good egg. Heaven knows we need more good eggs in the classroom.
     
  25. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    But then again painting with a big brush can get some peer pressure going on to be better.:hugs: :up: :angel:
     
  26. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    and I agree, sometimes I don't want to take on the title "teacher" because it's more about me learning about the kids, with the kids, from the kids. It's about being an instructional leader, or coach, or curriculum guider....i don't know we could go on and on about other names. we present information and try to find ways for the kids to ponder it and then make their OWN conclusions about it, and hopefully see if they'll take it a step further and they themselves take action...
     
  27. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    I wonder if I should put this on a banner and post it in my new room...;)
     
  28. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Oy...I'm crying just reading this.
     

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